How effective are you at onboarding new employees? If your retention rate is poor and you battle with low performance from new and existing employees, then it’s likely something to do with your onboarding process.

But you’re not alone. Both small and medium-sized businesses are battling with this same problem. In small companies, 70% of employees understand HR policies well and in medium businesses, this number decreases to 49%.

What’s strange is that having employee handbooks don’t seem to help much. Only 26% of small businesses use them, while 87% of medium-sized businesses have one.

However, before you write off employee handbooks – it may be due to employers not writing them effectively. So in this article, we’re going to share with you what you need to include in your employee handbook to make it more efficient.

Let’s get started!

Why Create an Employee Handbook?

The purpose of an employee handbook is to educate new employees about working in your organization. This is a manual that details the company’s rules, policies, and what’s expected of the employee (and vice versa).

This handbook is provided to the employee to read and sign at the time they’re hired. It’s a good rule of thumb to have an employee manual because it can help onboard new hires faster.

You don’t want to run into issues with employees breaking rules. Instead, it’ll show employees your business is organized with consistent policies. Plus, it’ll promote a positive workplace by preventing poor conduct.

At the end of the day, your employee handbook will safeguard both you and employees from wrongdoings. This includes sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and discrimination lawsuits.

Make sure to have your employees sign your employee handbook so you can verify that they’ve reviewed it and understand all the guidelines. Use a platform like eversign to automate the process by having employees electronically sign them.

Next, let’s take a look at the things you need to include in your employee handbook.

1. Your Company Profile

There’s only but so much you can reveal about your company during an interview. So instead, you can implement your company profile inside of your employee handbook.

This way, during the onboarding process, they can learn who it is they’re working for and why. Some of the things you should include in your company profile are:

  • The history of your business, including details about the founders.
  • The values of your business and its beliefs.
  • The mission of your business, explaining what it is your company does, who it serves, and why.
  • The company’s vision and the future the business hopes to achieve.
  • The goals of the company and how employees will contribute to reaching them.
  • The culture of the company, referencing things like open door policies and the business’s structure.

All of this will help employees better understand your business, what to expect from it, and the role they’ll play once they’re hired.

2. Onboarding Guidelines

You failed to make a proper employee handbook if it doesn’t train new employees. So to help onboard your new hires, you can include key documents that will help them do just that.

One area should go over important information that’ll help employees hit the floor running. For instance, you should include general details of their position, team structure, contact info, and directions to the office.

You should also include documents that require signing, such as the at-will employment clause, conflict of interest statement, confidentiality agreement, an equal employment opportunity statement.

Keep in mind that you can have your new hires sign documents virtually using eversign.

3. Employee Standard of Conduct

Even if you have an organization that’s laid back and chill, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a code of conduct for employees to follow. After all, you’re not doing business in the Wild Wild West so you’ll need to have ground rules for the workplace.

This may include a dress code to ensure everyone looks professional or at least decent to the company’s standards. And you may also want to include an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to protect your workers.

Surely, you’re maintaining a drug-free workplace, so it’s good to also have a substance-free workplace policy. Then you’ll need guidelines on disciplinary actions that will be taken if employees break any of the policies.

4. Compensation and Performance Reviews

This is information that’s fairly important to employees so it’s good to outline this right in the employee guide. For instance, new hires will want to know about the payroll schedule and payment options (direct deposit, check, etc.).

It’s also good to point out what deductions are taken from checks and salary and bonuses information. If workers are required to travel for business, then you’ll need to cover the travel and expense policy.

Then you’ll need to go over the job classification details, promotions, and transfers. The frequency of performance reviews is also essential information.

5. Benefits Offered

It’s always a good idea to include the perks your company offers to employees. This is what will help new hires stick around for the long haul.

So if you’re offering great packages for retirement plans, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and workers’ comp insurance, then make note of it in your employee handbook.

Also, if you offer paid time off, then outline this as well. It’s an added bonus if you offer other key leave policies for parental leave, jury duty, and sick leave.

6. Safety Guidelines

Depending on the type of workplace your employees operate in will determine the type of safety guidelines you’ll need to implement. This should already be in place well before designing your employee guidebook.

In this section, you need to drive home the policies you have in place for emergencies, health, and safety purposes. This includes safety procedures that outline what to do in the event someone’s injured.

For instance, the location of the first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and other key tools is essential. It’s also a good idea to have an FAQ section with answers that detail what to do in the event of violence, natural disasters, and fires.

Then if you have employees riding in a company vehicle, then explain the standard procedure for reporting accidents.

7. Appropriate Use of Company Equipment

In an office setting, it’s important to make note of how employees are to use the equipment they have access to. In this case, lines are easily blurred.

Employees may feel lax enough to check and send personal emails, make personal calls, and use the internet to check social media feeds on company computers and phones.

So if this is an issue within your business, then you should nip it in the bud by having a policy in place that outlines the appropriate use of company equipment.

Not only will this maintain employee productivity, but it’ll also aid in improving security measures.

8. Discipline and Termination

Now, you don’t want to leave out policies you have in place regarding the discipline and termination of employees. This will need to detail what constitutes the grounds for disciplinary action.

Plus, you need to detail the procedure for the disciplinary process. For example, the first step is a written warning and the second step is unpaid suspension.

Be sure to include all the steps leading up to possible termination.

Then you’ll also need to cover the process for employee resignations. In many cases, employers require employees to give a two-week notice.

If your company offers exit interviews, then detail how these are conducted and what the goal is for having one.

Don’t forget to mention when the employee will receive their final payment.

9. Employee Problem Resolution Procedures

In the event one of your employees runs into an issue, what should they do? You can have a formal process set up so that employees are able to file an internal complaint or grievance when an issue arises.

This way, there’s a structured process for problem resolutions. Also, by having this setup, it’ll let employees know that you care and take their concerns seriously.

10. Social Media Policies

It’s not uncommon for employers to allow employees to speak on behalf of the business on social media. However, there must be a policy in place that determines how social media is to be handled by your workers.

For instance, you may want social media posts to be proofed by a content manager before its release. Try to think of how employees may misuse social media relating to the workplace.

This includes communications that are prohibited and sensitive information that’s not allowed to be shared. For instance, confidential details about the company. Photos of the workplace are also something to consider, since this may violate privacy.

Creating Your Employee Handbook

Ready to get started crafting your own employee handbook? Then you need to take this list into account. With this guide, you should be well on your way to providing new hires with the resources they need to succeed in your workplace.

Also, don’t forget to make the guide easy to access by delivering it virtually. This way, they can digitally sign the document with eversign.

Then once you have your employee handbook out of the way, come back and let us know how it helps your business’s employee satisfaction and retention.