Writing Your Employee Handbook? Here’s What to Include

Integrity Employee Leasing employee handbook with blue cover and gold words that reads Employee Training Manual

Have you read the first in this two-part series about employee handbooks?

Contrary to popular belief, employers are not legally required to provide an employee handbook to their workforce. However, at Integrity Employee Leasing, we believe there’s no better way for an employer to educate their employees on company policies and communicate their employment law obligations.

As one of the leading PEOs in the nation, Integrity routinely helps businesses and franchises create and customize an employee handbook for their needs, keeping this important document updated as compliance and regulations change over time. There are a variety of key elements that should be included, even if you’re just updating an antiquated edition left behind by a previous human resources administrator.

#1. Disclaimer

Before delving into any specifics about company policies and procedures, it’s important to position a carefully worded disclaimer stating that the handbook is not an employment contract. This clarifies the purpose of the handbook for legal reasons, setting the expectation that policies and procedures outlined within it are subject to change, and do not constitute a binding agreement between the employer and employees.

#2. Company Mission, Vision, and Values

Next, your mission, vision and values should serve as guiding principles that shape the company’s culture and operations. Putting these in writing within your employee handbook helps employees align with the organization’s overarching goals and objectives. It fosters a sense of purpose and belonging among staff, reinforcing the company’s identity and promoting a unified workforce. Additionally, this empowers employees to know how they can support the culture and customer experience that you’ve dreamed and developed for the business.

#3. Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy

Creating a safe, inclusive workplace is critical for fostering a positive work environment. An anti-harassment and non-discrimination policy outlines the company’s commitment to maintaining an environment that’s free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. It provides employees with clear guidelines about acceptable behavior, establishing procedures for reporting and addressing incidents.

#4. Code of Conduct

Additionally, a code of conduct establishes behavioral expectations for employees within the workplace. It outlines standards of professionalism, integrity and ethics that employees are expected to uphold while representing the company. By setting these clear guidelines and communicating that they apply to all staff, the code of conduct helps maintain a respectful, productive work environment. And as studies have shown, happier employees are more productive employees.

#5. Dress Code

A dress code policy specifies the appropriate attire for employees while at work. Whether it’s formal business attire or a more casual dress policy, clearly defining these expectations around appearance and presentation ensures that your company’s brand image remains both intentional and consistent in front of your customers and stakeholders.

#6. Communications Policy

Effective communication is essential for collaboration and productivity. An organization’s communications policy should outline best practices for using internal and external communication channels such as email, phone and social media. By establishing protocols for communication, the policy helps to ensure clarity, consistency and professionalism in all interactions.

#7. Compensation and Benefits Information

Transparency around compensation and benefits is vital for building trust and satisfaction among employees. The compensation and benefits information section of your employee handbook should outline the various components of employee compensation. This includes details about wages, salaries and bonuses, and benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans and paid time off.

#8. Reviews, Promotions, and Raises

Career advancement opportunities are important for employee engagement and retention. This section of the handbook outlines the process for performance reviews, promotions, and salary increases within the organization. By providing clear guidelines for advancement, the handbook empowers employees to pursue their professional development goals.

#9. PIP Plans

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are designed to help employees address performance issues and work towards improvement. The handbook should delineate the purpose of PIPs, the process for implementation and the resources available to employees. By offering this guidance and support, you demonstrate the company’s commitment to employee development and success.

#10. New Hire and Separation Procedures

New hire and separation procedures comprise the processes for onboarding new employees and managing employee departures. From completing new hire paperwork to conducting exit interviews, these procedures ensure a smooth transition for both incoming and outgoing employees. Make it easy for your new team members – or those planning on a job change in the near future – by spelling out the steps for onboarding, departures and even termination.

#11. Procedures for Complaints

Providing a mechanism for employees to voice concerns and resolve disputes is essential for maintaining a healthy workplace culture. Put into writing the procedures for lodging complaints, including the channels for reporting grievances and the steps for investigation and resolution.

#12. Employee Acknowledgement

Finally, the employee acknowledgment section requires employees to sign and acknowledge that they have received, read and understood the contents of the employee handbook. This acknowledgment serves as a record of the employee’s agreement to abide by the policies and procedures outlined within the handbook.

True, the list above is long. But by writing these key sections in your employee handbook, you will establish clear expectations, promote a positive work environment and mitigate litigation risks for your business.

Remember, it is important to structure the document in a way that can be easily understood and digested by readers. Use a table of contents, diagrams and flowcharts, clear headlines and subheadings to help, etc. Also, consider a foreign language translation, if applicable to your workforce.

It’s Easy When You Partner with Integrity Employee Leasing

Does this sound like an unappealing and time-consuming chore? A busy franchise or small to mid-sized business owner likely has more pressing concerns on their plate. It’s why many choose to partner with a professional employer organization (PEO) like Integrity Employee Leasing.

Integrity offers an array of professional PEO services for our clients, from risk management and payroll compliance to exclusive access to a team of human resources experts for this very reason. Integrity Employee Leasing’s certified, knowledgeable HR specialists help clients establish and maintain key company documents, including your employee handbook and policies, in accordance with local, state and national regulations that apply to your business.

Those who partner with Integrity for human resources services trust our responsive team to:

  • Create and implement a customized employee handbook
  • Review and update their employee handbook regularly
  • Monitor for changes in applicable laws and regulations
  • Proactively alert them about compliance concerns, bringing solutions
  • Promptly communicate changes to employees, which is required by law

It’s time to put it in writing with Integrity Employee Leasing. Our proactive HR team is eager to use their expertise to put protective measures in place like a written employee handbook, which ultimately helps your company thrive.

Plus, it’s quick and easy to onboard with Integrity, even during busy season. “We already have the systems in place that allow us to quickly come alongside a business of any size and get these types of critical documents and systems into place. From employee handbooks to management training for company leaders, we are equipped to help businesses thrive,” said Christina Faro, Senior Human Resources Specialist at Integrity Employee Leasing.

All it takes is a simple phone call to schedule your free consultation at (941) 625-0623. We will do the heavy lifting to secure your business!

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