The Slice

Employee Handbooks: Examples and Tips to Create Your Own

March 17, 2023

In this article, we'll take a look at examples of employee handbooks that are practically a treat to read through while making the information clear, concise, and easy to digest. Beyond that, we'll explore the most essential components any employee handbook should include while also offering some tips for making your own.

When you hire a new team member, there's usually a lot of paperwork to deal with. At the same time, they are trying to get up to speed with how your company works, what the culture is like, and what is expected of them.

How can you communicate your policies, procedures, and expectations to new hires in an efficient yet welcoming way?

The answer is a top-notch employee handbook.

Your handbook doesn't need to be a dry, legalistic pamphlet that puts your team to sleep. In this article, we'll take a look at examples of employee handbooks that are practically a treat to read through while making the information clear, concise, and easy to digest.

Beyond that, we'll explore the most essential components any employee handbook should include while also offering some tips for making your own.

Why You Need an Employee Handbook

Your employee handbook is the place where your team can find all of the policies and protocols of your organization. On top of that, their legal obligations and rights will also be outlined in this booklet.

A handbook is essential to streamline the communication of your employees' rules and responsibilities. Countless issues can arise when your employees don't know exactly what is expected of them, and this handbook can answer a lot of questions new and seasoned workers alike have when they're on the job.

Beyond that, having a well-written and up-to-date employee handbook can help protect you legally. Having your policies clearly written out makes it much harder for people to accuse you of not communicating vital information.

Employee Handbook Examples to Inspire You

Many large corporations make their employee handbooks available to the public online, which means that there is plenty of inspiration out there as you begin to build your own.

Let's look at some of the most successful and creative examples of employee handbooks.


The Starbucks Standards of Business Conduct handbook is a 32-page document that starts off by explaining the company's mission and values. Referring to employees as "partners," they clearly make an effort to illustrate the importance of workers at all levels of the organization.

With a table of contents that makes the document easy to navigate and easy-to-read language, this is a great example of a comprehensive yet user-friendly employee handbook. 


Culture Code, a handbook released by HubSpot, isn't a traditional employee handbook.

Designed for modern audiences, this 153-page presentation is filled with all the most important things employees need to know about working for the company while leaning heavily on setting a cultural tone.


If you're interested in seeing a comprehensive employee handbook that's both information-packed and highly readable, check out JetBlue's employee handbook.

The document is designed to highlight the most important information and make it easy for employees to find the information they're looking for. Every page is visually interesting, ensuring that eyes don't start to roll over as workers page through the document. 

Essential Components of an Employee Handbook

What should you put in your employee handbook?

Let's go over the essentials to make sure you're not missing vital info as you design your own.

Values and Mission Statement

First things first, you want your employees to know what the values, mission, and goals of your organization are. Placing these right at the beginning ensures that they don't get lost in the shuffle.

This doesn't have to be a lengthy section, but rather a simple outline with the main purposes of your company clearly stated.

Basic Employment Info

No employee handbook would be complete without the general information all employees will want to know when they're working for you.

This is where you can get into the nitty-gritty, touching on topics such as:

  • Payment schedule and payment methods

  • Hiring policies

  • Overtime pay and policies

  • Part-time vs. full-time hours

  • Leaves of absence

  • Breaks

  • Safety and security procedures

  • Performance review procedures

  • Termination and resignation policies and procedures

If you manage a remote team, useful information to include is your guidelines surrounding communication. How exactly will you all talk to each other, both for critical work-related discussions and casual, team-building interactions?

Before you start typing away on your communication policy, check out these eight effective ways to communicate with your remote team.

Laws and Regulations

Any and all laws that are relevant to your employees should be included in your handbook– federal, state, and local.

These include but certainly aren't limited to anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and equal employment opportunity laws.


A basic outline of how benefits work at your organization is another essential component of an employee handbook. While you don't need to get into the specifics, as these can vary between roles within the company, you'll want to outline the benefits you offer, eligibility information, and more.

This section is a great opportunity to really show your employees all of the perks they have access to when they work for your company. This is one of the most frequently accessed parts of the employee handbook, and you can use this chapter to your advantage in many ways.

Are you starting from scratch and unsure what benefits you should be offering your employees? This guide goes over some of the most popular perks you can give to your workers to help attract top talent and retain a high-quality team. 

Codes of Conduct

There's a good chance you have developed your own set of expectations for your employees beyond the federal, state, and local regulations that impact your workforce.

Your employee handbook should clearly state any standards of conduct you have around the following:

  • Drug and alcohol usage policy

  • Dress code

  • Social media policy

  • Personal technology use policy

  • Conflict resolution policy

  • Data and customer privacy

Disciplinary Policies

What happens when someone doesn't follow the policies and procedures that you so diligently and dutifully explain in your employee handbook? The disciplinary policies section is exactly where your employees can find out.

This section is useful because it communicates the risks that employees take when they don't abide by the handbook and makes it clear that the same rules apply to all employees. If a worker feels that the disciplinary action they've received is unfair, having it written out clearly in your handbook can be incredibly useful.


Though you want your employees to take your employee handbook seriously, you also don't want them to sue you if they notice a discrepancy between what's written in the document and what actually happens.

For this reason, you'll want to include a disclaimer that makes it clear that the handbook isn't a contract.

NDA/Confidentiality/Conflict of Interest

This won't always be relevant, but some organizations might choose to have their employees sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that trade secrets aren't lost if a worker gets a new job with a competitor.

If you don't want to make them sign an NDA, you might choose to include a conflict of interest policy in your handbook.

Tips on Creating Your Own Employee Handbook

Now that we've dealt with the nuts and bolts of what should be in your employee handbook, let's take a look at some tips to help create a compelling document your workers will be happy to read.

Use the History of Your Company and Culture

When we think of an employee handbook, it's easy to imagine a legalistic and dry document that is practically written in a different language. It doesn't have to be that way, though. Ultimately, you want your handbook to reflect the culture and values of the company. When you're designing your policies, you'll want to think about the values you want to emphasize and the culture you want to nurture among your employees and customers.

Sometimes, this may mean creating a highly-professional document without even the slightest sense of humor. In others, you might want to keep the tone light and conversational in the areas where this is possible.

Identify the Policies That Are Required

There are certain policies that you might be required by law to have available in writing for your employees. We mentioned this above, but it's worth repeating– certain jurisdictions will require you to maintain policies on discrimination, harassment, workplace safety and health rules, and leave of absence or other time off policies.

Other specific information might be required depending on your state and local laws. You'll want to make sure that all applicable required policies are included in your employee handbook.

Use the Handbook to Set the Tone

Though an employee handbook is a place for a lot of nuts-and-bolts information, that doesn't mean you can't use it to set the tone.

This is often one of the first impressions a new worker will have of your company, so including a welcome statement, a brief history of the company, and an explanation of what makes your organization unique is a good idea.

Are you worried that your team simply isn't engaged because they all work from home? This article takes a look at actionable steps you can take to keep your employees engaged while working remotely.

Design an Acknowledgment Form

Giving out employee handbooks– whether these are physical copies or digital ones– is a good start.

However, without having your workers sign an acknowledgment form, there is no way to know whether they have so much as opened your handbook.

Make an Event Out of It

If you're creating a new employee handbook and you want to incorporate your team's ideas during the process, why not make it an event? Consider throwing a pizza party in conjunction with your brainstorming session, and watch the great ideas start flying.

Are you onboarding a bunch of new employees at the same time? Consider going through the employee handbook with them as a group to ensure that all of the most essential info is communicated as new workers get settled in.

Considering that this is an opportunity to make a great first impression, this is an ideal opportunity to provide a delicious meal for your new hires as well as a fun team-building activity.

Collect Feedback

When you're creating your employee handbook, getting feedback from other people in your company is a good idea.

Once you have a solid draft completed, you also might choose to have your legal team or counsel take a look to make sure that you are fully compliant with any relevant laws.

Is It Time to Turn Your New Hires Into a Team?

An employee handbook is an essential document that helps outline all of the most important information about your business. This is where your team can find everything from code of conduct expectations and their benefits to their legal rights and the history of the company.

Both an important communicative tool and a welcome packet, you can make your employee handbook informative and enjoyable to read.

Creating an employee handbook that reflects the culture and tone of your company is a great start when you're onboarding new employees. At the same time, it can take a little extra to help everyone start feeling like a part of the team.

This is particularly true when it comes to remote employees. It's much harder for everyone to get to know each other and feel comfortable working with one another when they only interact over Slack or video meetings.

For this reason, it's important to go out of your way to create team-building experiences for them. Through these types of activities, your new hires can build trust-based relationships, boost their creativity, and enhance their productivity. Beyond that, team-building can help to encourage collaboration and shape a positive work culture.

If you're wondering how the heck you're supposed to coordinate a team-building activity for employees sprinkled around the globe, don't fret. We've got you covered!

At PizzaTime, we specialize in bringing remote teams together with food and experiences. Offering pizza, breakfast, lunch, and happy hour packages as well as experiences like live trivia and virtual escape rooms, PizzaTime is your one-stop-shop for remote team building that really works.

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