4 Tips for Developing an Employee Handbook

Company policies are often determined in a reactionary or even ad-hoc fashion and may change to suit certain situations. This is especially true for small organizations. This is a risky strategy and may lead to unwanted litigation from disgruntled employees if they feel that they are not being treated fairly by management. It is important to set the company’s ground rules for conduct and the best way to do it is with an official employee handbook. Here are 4 tips for creating and developing a quality, comprehensive employee handbook:

  • Make sure the “At Will” employment policy of your organization is clearly stated; do not get into messy language about employment contracts, time frames, term limits, and promises. Employees are generally hired on an at will basis meaning that their employment may be terminated at any point time, baring any illegal discrimination. Making sure their at will status is clearly stated will give business owners and managers the room to change company policies when necessary without worrying about breaking contractual obligations made to employees.
  • Protect yourself and make sure all your legal bases are covered. Employment law is complicated so it might be a good idea to consult an employment lawyer on the areas you are legally liable. Be sure you have a section in your handbook that covers harassment, wages, and safety.
  • Create a code of conduct. In this section, spell out as explicitly as possible the rules and regulations that govern the office. These rules should cover everything from appropriate behavior, dress code, hours of operation, personal relationships in the office, and, if necessary, use of the internet.
  • Make sure you clearly explain the company benefits package. If your organization has a health plan, detail the specific terms and conditions for enrollment. If you have a vacation policy, list the specifics!


Ben Nash is the editor-in-chief of DailyHRTips.com. He is the founder and chief developer of the blog, providing tech/design support as well as tips and book reviews. Ben has held many interesting jobs in his professional career, including: barista, landscaper, public policy intern, barista (again), professional horse wrangler, ski lift attendant (aka "liftie"), political science teaching assistant, marketing and sales assistant, and an ecommerce/web d...

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