10 elements every employee handbook should have

A comprehensive employee handbook helps new staff make a smooth transition. Here's what to include...

A comprehensive employee handbook helps new staff make a smooth transition. Here's what to include...

It’s not unusual to lose employees during the onboarding process. This is a critical time in the worker-employer relationship. If the worker feels disoriented, unwelcome, or confused, they may leave the company causing you to start the hiring process over again.

A comprehensive employee handbook can be helpful in making a smooth transition. It teaches new employees about the company so they can become integrated without a timely onboarding process.

It can also be used by employees that have been at the company for some time and need a refresher; it can help clear up miscommunications about company policy.

Your employee handbook will only be effective if it contains key essential elements. This article will present those elements to ensure you get your workers up to speed quickly. Use Craft's free employee handbook template to quickly create and share this important document with your new (and not-so-new!) staff.

Free employee handbook template
Craft's free employee handbook template enables you to quickly create and share a great-looking document

Welcome Section

The first section of your employee handbook should welcome the employee. The tone should be enthusiastic. It can include a brief explanation of company history, company culture, or whatever other relevant information you feel is important.

Code Of Conduct

This will encompass all expectations as far as dress code, workplace safety, business ethics, worker relationships, employee-to-customer representation, and other matters related to conduct.


It’s essential that employees are aware of the repercussions involved when rules of conduct are broken. List the different tiers of discipline you issue, and which types of behaviors warrant action.

Employee Classification

Employee classification refers to part-time, full-time, exempt, and non-exempt. This section of the workbook should explain each classification and how it affects the worker’s benefits and compensation.

Equal Opportunity Policy

This will make it clear that your company has established an equal opportunity policy in terms of pay, promotions, compensation, and termination. It should also lay out steps workers should take if they feel they are being discriminated against or harassed.

Employee Benefits

This section will explain the benefits your company offers such as insurance, retirement plans, etc. It should provide information on how the worker can enroll in the programs you offer and what’s covered.

Payroll Practices

Payroll practices include how often employees are paid, how time is reported and recorded, and information on bonuses and commissions if applicable.

Time off from Work

This will cover matters such as sick days, vacation days, punctuality, and paid time off. It will also include arrangements your company makes for religious events, sabbaticals, disability, and other matters that would require time off work.


Employees must know what’s involved in the termination process. This includes how much warning they must provide before leaving the company. It will also cover how much compensation they are entitled to if they retire or are laid off, if applicable.


An employee handbook is an essential workplace tool. It helps with onboarding new workers, and it sets the tone for how your company runs moving forward. The elements listed above will assist you put together a comprehensive workbook that covers all the important elements and gets your new staff off to a great start.