Employee Handbook – the ultimate guide

Imagine working in a work place without rules and routines – a place where everything is resolved ad hoc or consists of unwritten ways of doing things. Maybe it works well the first few weeks, but frustrating at length. All workplaces have rules and routines for those who work there, but the very best make sure that these are documented and written down in a common document. This provides an overview for everyone, predictability and a better working environment. New employees will quickly get to know how to work in the company. And not least, the number of questions and inquiries to the management will be significantly reduced when everything is clearly written down.

What is an employee handbook?

A staff handbook provides at least a simple overview and guidance on the rules and routines you follow in the workplace.
It is a reference book for the individual employees who can get an overview of both duties, rules and rights, in addition to customized practices that the company has prepared.
Where the employment contract applies to individual employees, the personnel manual applies to all employees in the company and goes into more detail about the individual rights.

Not required by law

No company must have a staff handbook, and no law says it is necessary. But – it is strongly recommended to have it. Not only does it provide a set of common driving rules, a good employee handbook gives you an overview of what type of business you want to be. It can help build a good working environment and a shared culture that drives the company in the direction that management wants.

Having driving rules and guidelines reduces friction and confusion about which rules to adhere to.

What should be in it?

There are many ways to create a staff handbook, but thematically it can cover the company’s culture, general information (statutory duties and rights), and rules specific to the company.

Based on this, it can be divided into four parts:

Corporate visions and values
Intro to the business
What kind of business is this?

Conditions of employment
Work Regulations,
Working hours (including any flexible time, holidays, overtime etc.)
Holidays and holidays, holiday money
Salary scheme and compensation
Tariff (if you have this)
General guidelines e.g. Use of social media, the internet, on job journeys,
Confidentiality & routines for press inquiries
Health, environment and safety (HSE) (refer to own writing)
Termination of employment: Termination notice, warning, resignation, and certificate of claim
Absence, sickness and leave
Procedures for absence and illness
Leave of absence
Employee Benefits
lunch Arrangements
Other benefits (Eg cabin, training, discounts etc)
Right to holidays / paid free in addition to statutory days
Software tools that the company uses

Although it does not have to express what kind of culture and environment you want to have, this can also be useful to include. At all is

Who should make it?

This depends on the size of the business. If you have your own HR / HR department or HR manager, it is natural that these owners own and manage this document.

But it is important that the management and not least the general manager see the staff handbook as an important tool for managing the company and the employees in the direction they want to develop it.

How often should one update?

As soon as changes and routines are introduced in the workplace, the manual must be updated. But at a minimum, it should be reviewed and reviewed once a year to make sure everything is up to date. It is quickly forgotten to do this, so it is important that someone takes ownership of this process.

How long should it be?
Since this should be a living document that can be used by all employees, it should be as short and clear as possible. No one is going to read long and heavy descriptions of processes or look up if it is perceived as impenetrable. Have a register that allows you to look it up according to specific knowledge. Do not use unnaturally heavy and bureaucratic language, but make everything as easy and clear as possible.

It may be natural to break up a staff handbook if you see that different departments need slightly different rules and routines. Then you can have a staff handbook for the company as a whole and have your own routine descriptions for the various departments.

Does it need to be named 'employee handbook'?

No, call it what you want. In English it is commonly referred to as Employee handbook, employee manual, staff handbook Company policy manual for international companies.

You should not include this:
Benefits that are individually customized in the employment contracts and only available to a few should not be included. Remember that the handbook is for everyone in the workplace and not for envy.
Trial time can also be individually customized so this should be covered so be general in terms

Can I change the contents of the book?
Yes, and that is also an important point. The content of the personnel handbook must at least be updated in accordance with the current laws and regulations. In addition, the content is regarded as a reference for the employees, so it is important that other elements of the book are always updated as well.
Downscaling of goods should be thought through thoroughly, both the consequences this will have in relation to the employees. Have a discussion with the employee representatives before this happens. Maybe you should compensate with something else.

Our newsletter

Get great curated articles every week.

Keep up to date with the latest HR tips and tricks
No spam!
"We created LessAdmin to give small businesses the power to manage their workforce with the same efficiency as large corporations, but for a fraction of the cost."