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Global Work Glossary

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Table of Contents

Why should your company have an employee handbook?

How to create and distribute an employee handbook

What to include in an employee handbook?

How to use the employee handbook effectively

What is employee handbook

An employee handbook is a comprehensive document that outlines an organization's policies, procedures, and expectations.

The purpose of the employee handbook is to provide a clear understanding of what is expected of employees and what they can expect from the company. It helps to avoid misunderstandings by informing employees about the company's policies and processes. It also outlines legal obligations and rights, promoting a fair and just workplace.

This handbook sets the tone for a consistent and uniform experience for all employees, regardless of their geographical location or remote status.

Why should your company have an employee handbook?

In a global workforce where employees are scattered across different time zones and cultures, an employee handbook acts as a unifying force. It helps communicate the company's policies and expectations to employees in different countries, providing a consistent framework across diverse legal and cultural contexts, promoting understanding and compliance. It should be adapted to meet local laws and cultural nuances.

Employee handbooks also establishes performance standards, communication guidelines, and remote work protocols, fostering a more productive and harmonious work environment.

Typically, an employee handbook is designed for full-time employees. However, it's beneficial to have a section relevant to contract workers, outlining company expectations, policies they need to comply with, and any benefits they are entitled to. It's crucial that this section is carefully drafted to avoid implying an employment relationship where one does not legally exist.

How to create and distribute an employee handbook

Step 1

Begin by outlining the key policies and guidelines that need to be included. Consider customizing content to suit the unique needs of remote workers, such as cybersecurity policies and communication protocols.

Step 2

Seek legal counsel to ensure your handbook complies with international labor laws and regulations. This step is vital for global companies with employees around the world.

Step 3

Use a secure platform or intranet to ensure all employees can access the handbook conveniently.

Step 4

Conduct training sessions or webinars to guide employees on how to use the handbook effectively, helping them navigate through the content and understand its importance.

What to include in an employee handbook?

Here are the elements that you should include in your employee handbook to ensure you’ve covered everything relevant:

  • Company mission and values: Start with a clear statement of your company's mission, vision, and values. This helps remote employees align with the organization's culture.
  • Code of conduct: Define expected behaviors, both in the physical workplace and the remote environment. Emphasize the importance of professionalism and respectful communication.
  • Employment policies: Address policies related to employment, such as hiring, termination, and promotions. Include information on compensation, employee benefits, and performance evaluations.
  • Remote work guidelines: For remote teams, provide specific guidelines on work hours, communication tools, data security, and expectations regarding availability and responsiveness.
  • Conflict resolution and grievance procedures: Detail the process for resolving conflicts and handling grievances, ensuring that remote employees have a clear path for reporting issues.

Note: If an employee handbook is not properly drafted or updated, it can cause legal issues. For instance, if it includes discriminatory policies, does not comply with labor laws, or promises job security (implying a contract), it could lead to legal disputes. Therefore, it's important to have legal counsel review the handbook.

How to use the employee handbook effectively

  • Onboarding: During the onboarding process, introduce new employees to the handbook. Emphasize its importance and encourage them to refer to it for any questions or concerns.
  • Regular updates: Ensure your handbook is a living document that is updated regularly to reflect changes in policies, technology, and remote work practices. Take into account input from various stakeholders, like legal, HR, and management.
  • Communication: Use the handbook as a reference in company-wide communications. When announcing policy changes or updates, refer employees to the relevant section in the handbook.
  • Feedback mechanism: Encourage employees, including remote team members, to provide feedback on the handbook. This can help identify areas that need improvement or clarification.

The effectiveness of an employee handbook can be measured through employee feedback, the number of policy-related questions or disputes, and compliance rates. Regular surveys can also be conducted to gauge its comprehensibility, relevance, and usefulness.

An employee handbook should be updated at least annually or whenever there's a significant change in company policies or relevant laws. Regular updates ensure the handbook remains a reliable resource for employees and legally compliant.

Deel helps you hire, pay, and manage a global workforce in over 150 countries. Learn more about how you can take global HR admin, compliance, and payroll from your plate and focus on business growth while we take care of everything else!

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