The need for employee handbooks

Employee handbooks are valuable sources of communication. A source of communication between the employer and employee. It explains, in detail, what your company culture is all about.

An employee handbook is usually written to communicate company policies and set expectations between the employer and employee relationship. It also helps in onboarding employees when they are recruited and ultimately, also reduces any potential liability or litigation.

Unfortunately, we are many times lost in the day-to-day running of our business that we forget what the value of having and maintaining an employee handbook. Even if you have been setup in your business for a good number of years, it is never too late to start drafting one. If you already have one and haven’t updated it in a good number of years, it is also never too late to revive it.

You might be asking, why do I really need one?

Apart from protecting you as an employer as it defines your policies and practices, it thoroughly explains and conveys what you’d like the company culture to be like and what is needed for the business to thrive. It serves as a direction to employees. It is a point of reference – as to what is and what isn’t expected from them, to be able to succeed during their employment. It brings everyone in the business on the same page and is essential for employees to know how to interact with the company. The handbook also encourages equal treatment and instills fairness amongst all employees.

Designing an employee handbook is not a one-time process. The employee handbook is a living document that needs to be updated and maintained. In fact, 2020 was a year that meant that our clients required our assistance in revisiting their policies or crafting new policies. This was due to the sudden change in employment practices in businesses (such as, working from home).

Every company should have an employee handbook; however, it is important that you create policies as only necessary, to maintain an effective handbook. Keep in mind that not everything needs a policy. Policies should not be written just to change the behaviour of one or just a few people.


At SurgeAdvisory, we assist businesses in drawing up their employee policies and/or procedures, together with documenting these in an employee handbook. Contact me on [email protected] to discuss how we can help you.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Co-Founder and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over eighteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.