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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Employee Handbook

What Is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook provides guidance and information on a company’s mission, vision, values, policies and procedures, and workplace code of conduct. It can be a valuable resource for employees to acquaint themselves with everything they need to know to be successful and safe in your office. An employee handbook also helps protect employers against discrimination or unfair treatment claims by forewarning employees of these policies so they know what to expect. 

What Is Included in an Employee Handbook? 

Your organization’s employee handbook should be specific to your company, and its contents will vary based on your industry, but almost all employee handbooks contain descriptions of the following: 

  • Company policies

  • Company culture

  • Legal policies

  • Company grievance policy

  • Benefits information

  • Dress code

  • Company procedures

  • HR information

  • Company mission statement and values

  • Employee rights

How Does an Employee Handbook Benefit Employees?

An employee handbook should clearly outline what the employer expects from the employee and what the employee can expect from the company. It is often distributed to employees on or before their first day or work, so they know how to prepare and can learn more about your organization. It can also be a helpful resource after onboarding as employees can refer back to policies when they have questions or review their benefits information. 

How Does an Employee Handbook Benefit Employers?

An employee handbook keeps all of your company policies and procedures in one central place and helps you stay consistent in enforcing those policies and procedures. This can be essential if legal questions arise or if an employee breaks one of your company policies. 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) advises that employers not only distribute a copy (electronic or hard copy) of the employee handbook to every employee but also that they require every employee to sign a document declaring that they received, read, and will follow the rules outlined in the employee handbook. This can protect your organization if you are required to discipline an employee based on policies and procedures in the employee handbook. 

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