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Have Employees; Now What? A Short Guide to Handbooks and Onboarding

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Have Employees; Now What?A Short Guide to Handbooks and Onboarding
Have Employees; Now What?A Short Guide to Handbooks and Onboarding

Most companies understand the importance of having an employee handbook. They realize its benefits of clearly educating managers and employees on their company culture, values, policies and procedures. Here we discuss how a well-written employee handbook and onboarding documents can help businesses communicate company culture and manage employees.

It is becoming increasingly important for handbooks to be thorough, but still easily understood by employees and managers, so they are able to apply the guidance it contains consistently. It is especially important for new hires to be provided with your handbook so they understand your expectations from the beginning. And it is important for business owners to use the right forms and notices as part of their onboarding process.

Owners of companies with compliant handbooks recognize it as a valuable tool for onboarding new employees. They see its value in helping new employees become acquainted with their unique culture and processes. They also see its value in helping managers and employees feel safe and fairly treated.

Although not generally required by law, a handbook can be used as a defense against complaints of unfair treatment. Therefore, it is prudent to provide all employees with the handbook and to obtain a written or electronic signature from each, acknowledging receipt of the handbook and agreeing to follow your procedures.

It is also wise to include in the acknowledgment that either the employer or employee may terminate the relationship at any time unless otherwise prohibited by law or contract. The handbook should be clearly designated as not an employment contract.

It is important to understand the protections of complying with federal, state, local, and at times, international law. These protections may prevent financial loss due to legal fees, settlements or jury awards, as well as loss of employee morale and employer reputation.

Each employee handbook is as unique as the company it represents. While all handbooks have many things in common due to the complexities of ever-evolving employment regulations, each must be customized to your particular business. Unique products, values, locations, resources and customers, along with the desired benefits and culture have a unique impact on each handbook.

Considering these things, it can seem intimidating for a business owner to create and maintain a compliant handbook that also reflects the company’s culture and operating procedures. Therefore, it is recommended employers work closely with their attorney or experienced human resources consultant in developing their handbooks. PassionHR Consulting can partner with you to create a customized handbook, delivered with customized documents for employee onboarding. This “HR-in-a-Box” product includes 5 hours of on-call HR consulting for additional support beyond delivery of your “Box” to help you with day-to-day HR needs. For more information or a quote, contact us at


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