Why Every Company Needs a Quality Employee Handbook + Free Template

Why are Employee Handbooks Important?

An employee handbook is a document provided to employees by the employer which communicates the company’s mission, policies, and expectations. It is an important communication resource for both the employer and employee as it outlines the organisation’s values.

The handbook is a go-to guide for employees on any company-related information, so it must include all the necessary material and overview general management expectations. It also protects employers from claims and litigation on unfair treatment. A complete employee handbook will ensure both parties are clear on details and not caught off guard.

What are the Key Elements to Include in an Employee Handbook?

Every business must have an employee handbook/policy manual to safeguard itself from any legal issues should they arise in the future. Although every country, state and region will have different labour laws, there are some key elements that are crucial to any employee handbook:

  • Workplace policies
  • Code of conduct
  • Compensation
  • Personal Data
  • Confidentiality & Non-disclosure agreement
  • Benefits and perks
  • Working hours
  • Probation
  • Health and safety
  • Leave and remote working policy

These are some of the bare basics that every handbook must contain. Cover these basics and your business will be protected from possible problems in the future. If you are struggling with what to include in your handbook, download our free employee handbook template to ensure you have all the essentials!

Remember to:

  • Change the tone of the content to match your company culture
  • Add your company’s logo and images to personalise the employee handbook
  • Include important labour law sections according to your location

Get Your Employees to Actually Read the Handbook!

According to research from GuideSpark, 43% of generation Y are not reading the majority of the employee handbook and 11% haven’t even opened an employee handbook. Including all the basics is a great way to protect your business, but ideally, you want a handbook that employees actually read!

There are many factors that can make an employee handbook more enticing for the reader. Here are the main employee handbook success factors:

Clear Structure

Make sure the layout of the handbook is clear and concise. Split the information into sections and direct the reader through an index page. A handbook that is easy to navigate will help employees get answers quickly and therefore refer to it more often.

Location Specific

A good employee handbook should be adjusted to match the labour laws of the location of your company. Factors like maternity leave, insurance, severe weather arrangements, termination, etc. can vary drastically from place to place, so it is important to stay compliant.

Engaging to Read

Your employee handbook should engage and educate your employees on the company’s structure and culture. Show the reader what your company is all about and what you expect from them.


The content of the employee handbook should be easy to read and the tone of the content should also represent your company’s culture. Include your company colours, logos, and even images of employees so the handbook has your organisation’s DNA.

Easily Accessible

Creating a great employee handbook is useless if no one knows where to locate it. Make sure employees are given a hard copy and have easy access to the digital format of the handbook through a share drive network.

Up to Date

Nothing is worse than reading something and then finding out it isn’t up to date. Keep any company policy changes up to date in the handbook and make sure to notify employees as soon as it is updated.

Want an In-Depth Employee Handbook That is Compliant with Local Labour Laws?

A location-specific employee handbook that is compliant with the necessary local labour laws is hard to create especially if you are not an expert in local legislation. Links has over 20 years of experience in providing in-country HR solutions across Asia, and our expertise can help you produce an employee handbook that is tailored for your location.

If you are looking for an in-depth template that covers more than the fundamentals, please contact Links International’s Associate Director, Bella Khan, at bella.khan@linksinternational.com.

Asia labour laws are constantly changing and businesses need to stay up to date with the latest developments to stay compliant. Subscribe to our blog to read our latest Onboard publication on the latest labour law updates in APAC!

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