If you’ve ever worked for a large company, one of the first things you are provided as part of your training is an employee handbook outlining everything from company policy, to its mission statement, dress codes, and more. It is an effective way to communicate expectations and provide employees with a resource to reference if they have questions.


But what about small businesses? Is an employee manual really necessary?

You may be thinking, “Do I really need an employee manual if I only have a few employees?” The answer is yes. Here’s why you need one:

  • Your employees want to know what to expect
  • All employees will be expected to follow the same set of rules
  • A written policy will help you should you have legal issues

Remember that it only takes one employee to create problems. Having an employee manual for your small business, even if it is a short one, will help you avoid many potential issues.


Creating an employee handbook doesn’t have to be an overly complicated process. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to make sure you cover the basics and give your employees a manual that outlines expectations and internal policies for how they are to conduct themselves.

1. Get to the point:

An employee manual doesn’t have to be long; it just needs to cover your company policies, standards, and guidelines.

2. Write in plain English:

An employee handbook is not the place to use jargon and terminology that is difficult to understand. Write in a conversational and engaging tone. After all, you want your employees to actually read and understand the manual.

3. Have clear expectations:

Having fair and clearly communicated expectations for your employees is important. Clarity is vital to ensure there are no misunderstandings and alternative interpretations.

4. Include a sign off:

Including a sign off at the end of your employee manual is important. It ensures that your employees confirmed they have read and understand all rules and everything outlined in the manual. It also increases the odds of them actually reading the manual.

5. Hire an HR consultant:

Hiring an HR consultant to help you write your employee manual is a common practice that will ensure you don’t overlook anything important. They will ensure everything is in compliance with laws in your area, legal considerations and disclaimers are included, and you have a strong employee handbook that can be used for years to come.

Even if you have a small business with only a couple of employees right now, as your business grows and you add more employees, an employee handbook will be a valuable tool to help onboard new hires and ensure everyone is on the same page.


Learn more about how to get the most out of HR for your small business by reading these blog posts:

3 Key Benefits of HR Consulting for Small Businesses

How Outsourcing HR Will Benefit Your Small Business

4 Ways Organizational Design Can Benefit Your Small Business

Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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