How to Create an Employee Handbook: A Complete Guide with Examples

A study by Gusto states that 87% of small businesses (sized 10-200 employees) possess employee handbooks.

Every company needs to share its values, expectations, and mission with its employees. An employee handbook is a good source to place these aspects together. Let’s observe how to write a useful employee handbook.

What is an Employee Handbook?

Employee handbook, also known as a company policy manual, staff handbook, or employee manual is a document that describes a company’s essential policies and processes and delineates its culture. A useful employee handbook is one that communicates your company rules, values, mission, and policies to your current and new employees clearly.

Perhaps the most crucial role of such a policy and procedure manual is establishing clear expectations for both groups: an organization as an employer and its staff. This handbook must evidently communicate what is required from the employees considering their performance, workplace behavior, and what they can anticipate in return.

It should be provided to new employees from their employer on their first workday. A favorable practice is to send this handbook together with a welcome email or letter to new personnel as a segment of their onboarding procedure.


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Creative Handbook Examples

Companies, usually, spent much time and resources in designing and creating employee handbooks and cultural conduct. Below mentioned are some of the well-articulated employee handbook examples that help their teams sail on the same boat and achieve the desired output.

  1. Netflix

    A simple yet useful is the Netflix HR handbook. This company does not chop its words when it comes to informing its employees. Over 129 well-defined slides slideshow depicts simple sentences that are easy to understand.

    Some organizations try to integrate the comedy approach to keep their strategy manual appealing, but Netflix prefers to state their policies in a direct way by eradicating all the fuzz. It is blunt enough to make readers clearly aware of the company norms and culture.

  2. Sterling

    One of the popular employee handbook examples is Sterling. This company has much information in its policy manual. To make it charming and interactive, they dispersed it in a colorful and logical format. It uses a website to get its message spread across the firm. It begins with a warm message from its CEO and then gets more technical in the later sections.

  3. Trello

    Trello, a subsidiary of Atlassian, uses its Kanban job management system conveniently to introduce its policy handbook. You can gauge diverse parts of the company’s strategies that are structured into columns, comprising a column named ‘On Your First Day’ for their new employee to get started with ease and comfort.

  4. Education First

    Education First has produced a fundamental and attractive employee handbook that every member would like to read. To make it interesting, they have used kids’ book drawings and illustrations to design their brief 7-page policy guide.

    They chose designs and text that tell a story. This approach might not make much sense for other companies, but you should try it out. Such a story-telling way of representing a handbook will let employees understand their roles and responsibilities in a better way.

A Step-by-step Guide to Write Employee Handbook

How to Create an Employee Handbook

The content and level of detail of your staff handbook depends on how you aim to utilize it. A good method to consider creating this handbook is to keep it centred on welcoming new team members and offering the information they need. You can keep detailed files of your company policies in your corporate wiki. Here’s a step-by-step guide to write employee handbook:

Step 1: Study and Revise Current Policies

Company policies and strategies are exercised as the basis for composing the handbook. Managers should examine the work ecosystem for general practices that are presently in order. In absence of any policy, they should develop it considering the end-goal and culture they wish to set up.

When the employer has revised the procedures and reinforced the usual practices, the legal counsel must review them. The Human Resource team must start employing these amended employment policies and comprise it while creating the employee handbook.

Step 2: Draft an Outline of the Handbook

Now ensure that you invest time to preplan what elements are to be enclosed before diving deep into writing an employee handbook and then form its outline. This will make sure that you incorporate all necessary resources for making it effective.

Choosing apt elements to include in the handbook depends on several factors such as industry, location, and company culture and size. Here listed are some such sections:

Purpose of Handbook
  • Serves as a welcome letter for new hires
  • Explains how to use the handbook
Company Introduction
  • Brief company history
  • Mission statement
  • Organizational structure
Employee Code of Conduct
  • Diversity and anti-harassment
  • Protection of company property
  • Usage of social media
  • Dress code
  • Health & safety measures
  • Working hours (e.g., overtime and operating hours)
  • Employee classification (e.g., exempt vs. non-exempt)
  • Commonly used contract terms (e.g., non-compete, non-disclosure, and confidentiality agreements)
  • Healthcare subsidies (eg., family medical leave act)
  • Paid-time-off and leave policies
  • Company vehicles
  • Bonus and incentives
  • Training and development
Company Actions
  • Mentorship programs
  • Recognition programs
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Procedures and Practices
  • Performance analysis and management
  • Recruitment process

Pro Tips:

  • Provide a summary of complicated subjects and refer to or link full policy documents in your internal knowledge base.
  • Avoid overfilling your handbook with policies and exemptions you need to consider. To make it more appealing, add a personal touch like a letter from your product manager.
  • Insert a table of contents so that your employees can quickly locate the section they need.

Step 3: Design the Handbook

After determining which elements to incorporate in the handbook, you may choose a design that will justify your aim. You can create an employee handbook template with the help of designers and use it as per your needs.

Pro Tips:

  • Represent the information in a visual way, whenever required
  • Use steady labeling and branding
  • Select a color palette that symbolizes your entity
  • Use bold headers and make them descriptive
  • Use columns, break out boxes and lists to convey crucial information evidently

Step 4: Gather all the information in the Handbook

After drafting an outline and designing the handbook, you may insert all the required information in it. Such data must be communicated and exhibited in an easy-to-follow and clear format.

The vocabulary should be easy to understand and familiar to your target audience. If there are complex terms, add a glossary to specify them. Moreover, ensure that your table of contents is placed out clearly.

Pro Tips:

  • Use a table of contents, create a blank page for each section, and add the segment header. This will aid you to visualize the handbook structure in an improved way.
  • From your knowledge base, share the handbook’s first draft with your team to gain their feedback.
  • Your teammates can leave their comments on the doc. This fosters team collaboration. 

Step 5: Share Your Final Version of Handbook

Publish the handbook in different locations. You must make sure that it is easy to find for every employee. For this, you can distribute its hard copies in the office or email a copy to your teams.

You can make your handbook as an interactive PDF and interconnect documents stored in your internal knowledge base. This makes it simpler for your team members to find the specific files they need to refer to anytime, anywhere.

Pro Tip: Present employee handbook while giving appointment letter, in the onboarding procedure, and pin on your channel of communication.


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Create an Employee Handbook with CloudTutorial in a Blink!

An employee handbook is usually a user’s manual depicting the company’s policies and culture for managers, executives, and new employees.

With CloudTutorial, you can make various documents related to procedures, rules, code of conduct, employees’ benefit and welfare schemes, history and culture of the company. Below listed are some of the benefits that this advanced knowledge base provides when you create an employee handbook:

  • Easy access to these knowledge resources is allowed
  • Valuable information is captured in real-time
  • An environment is cultivated where company culture is valued
  • Team communication and collaboration is improved
  • Employee productivity gets boosted
  • Employees’ time and operational costs are saved
  • The decision-making process is enhanced
  • Employee training programs and customer onboarding process becomes smooth 

Your employee handbook must contain the company’s core values, culture, history, vision, goals, and mission. In addition to this, legal information related to employment, human resources policies, and employees’ perks and benefits must be included.

Standard employee handbook categories are workplace policies, employment basics, code of conduct, benefits and perks, compensation and development, employee resignation and termination, working hours, PTO, and vacation.

An efficient employee handbook must communicate your rules, core values, company culture, and procedures in a straightforward manner. From company history and mission statement to sick leave, employee benefits, and vacation policy, a good company handbook ought to contain everything.


An employee handbook is a multi-purpose tool. Utilize them to inform employees about your company’s culture and clear the confusion on critical subjects. When you finish writing this handbook, request your attorney to examine it for authenticity and legality.

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