Employee Handbook: 11 Essential HR Policies for Employees

11 essential hr policies for employees

Do companies still need to create HR policies for their employees? Is this really necessary?

The answer to both questions is an absolute YES!

HR policies are essential for businesses. But they need to be flexible. Companies need to regularly update their HR policies and procedures list to meet the company’s needs and market changes.

So, how do you create HR policies for employees in your company?

Keep reading to find out.


HR policies for employees: What they are and what they aren’t

HR policies are guidelines designed to define what employees can expect from the company and what the company can expect from its employees.

Your company’s HR policies, rules, and regulations ensure employees and managers find ways to resolve disputes. They also include when to enforce disciplinary measures like suspending an employee, firing them, or even reporting them to the police.

HR policies aren’t a one-and-done event that the company has to do when it begins operations and forgets about afterwards. Moreover, every company’s HR policies will differ based on its location, needs, labor regulations, and more.

Every company needs to regularly review and update its HR policies for employees list. This not only ensures that HR policies aren’t out of date, but also meet current business needs.

Your new hires should get a copy of your Employee Handbook or HR policies. Moreover, every time you update your HR policies, you should send a copy to current and new employees.


How to create your HR policies, rules, and regulations

Every business is different. So, going online and grabbing the first result of ‘HR policies manual’ isn’t a good idea. Sure, some policies will fall into place but it’s likely you’ll end up with a long manual that neither fits your company, your employees, or the country you’re operating in.

In the following sections, we’ll show you how to create an HR policies and procedures list for employees and how to adapt it to your business and its needs.

To create HR policies for your employees, you must first ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of business does the company do? (Is it a marketing agency? Is it a construction company?…etc.)
  • What are the different types of employees does my company hire? For example, your company may hire white collars and blue collars, or it may hire workers in a factory. It’s important to take both into consideration.
  • What are the different kinds of disputes that may occur? How can the company resolve them?
  • What kind of roles does my company or organization hire? (Marketing roles, HR roles, sales roles, juniors, seniors, managers, C-suite executives…etc.)
  • What country (or countries) does my company operate in?
  • What industry (or industries) does my company work in?
  • What types of employment does the company offer? Or what types of contracts does my company offer? (Full-time roles, part-timers, freelancers, contract-based employees, project-based…etc.)
  • Are all employees office-based? Or is it a hybrid-work environment? Or does everyone work from home?
  • What types of vacation does the company give employees? List the different types
  • What does a healthy work environment look like in your company? How can HR policies help create such an environment?


Additional HR policies to consider for your employees

  1. Employee attendance and absence policies
  2. Growth opportunities in your organization
  3. Organizational programs such as training, onboarding…etc.
  4. Communication of the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals


To create an HR policy for employees, you need to be aware of the different types of employees you hire, their roles, their salary grades, their work needs…etc.

You also need to be aware where your employees work, their hierarchy, who reports to who, and so on. It should also take into consideration your company’s pay structure.

This helps you create and update policies.

It’s important that your Employee handbook doesn’t become outdated. Otherwise, all your efforts will go to waste. Moreover, an outdated Employee Handbook means when problems arise, there is no suitable reference for managers or HR to resolve them.


Essential HR policies for employees

Every HR policy handbook or Employee handbook, should include the following policies and regulations.


1. Dress code policy

This applies to employees working in the office or when they’re meeting clients outside the office (if applicable). Define what you mean by ‘casual’ and ‘smart casual.’ If there are certain items that aren’t accepted, note those in your dress code policy.


2. Disputes and conflicts policy 

Among the most important HR policies for employees are those pertaining to disputes and conflicts. Disputes policies should clarify the order of hierarchy, responsibilities, and resulting penalties for those at fault.


3. Harassment policy

One of the most important HR policies in the workplace is the harassment policy. You not only need to highlight what qualifies as harassment, but also you’ll need to take into consideration the different kinds of harassment.

Your harassment policy should be regularly updated and should clarify how harassers will be penalized for their actions.

Failing to do so results in

o   a repellent work environment

o   a bad reputation for your company in the market

o   candidates being unwilling to apply for jobs

o   high employee turnover


4. Vacations and leave polic

Your vacations and leave policy is one of the first policies employees review in your Employee Handbook or HR Handbook.

The vacations policy should cover

o   Sick leave and conditions for applying for sick leave, duration, and pay

o   Parental leave (caring for sick parents)

o   Maternity leave

o   Bereavement leave (when a first-degree or second-degree family members passes away)

o   Annual leave


Any other type of vacations your company offers such as mental health leave, paternal leave, among others.

Your vacations and leave policy will be closely related to your attendance and punctuality policies.  


5. Attendance and punctuality policy 

You should highlight how attendance works in your HR policies for employees. This policy should clarify the different types attendance and how they apply to different employees and teams in your organization.

For example, it’s common for companies not to impose strict attendance requirements for sales people. That’s because they have to regularly meet with clients in the latter’s offices or away from company premises.

Similarly, you should clarify what happens if employees are late to arrive or have to leave the office early.

If you have a fully-remote company or fully-remote teams, you’ll need to explain what attendance and punctuality means for them. Similarly, if your teams and employees are bound by changing shifts, you need to clarify how shifts work for them. All of this is to ensure employees receive their full salaries at the end of the month without any deductions.

Your attendance policy should also cover flexible working hours (if applicable) and work location.


6. Employee misconduct policy

Before you create your employee misconduct policy, you first need to define what misconduct means in your organization.

Employee misconduct includes fraud, theft, violation of policies, harassment of other employees, damage of company property or goods, among others.

Your HR policies regarding employee misconduct should explain what the offense is and what the result will be.

Will the employee be fired? Charged by the police? Something else?


7. Travel and reimbursement policies

This type of policy isn’t applicable to all roles or even all companies. However, it’s important to clarify what happens when your company asks employees to travel for business, be it inside the country or abroad.

Explain what the employee is entitled to receive as compensation, how they will receive it, if they need to hold on to receipts,

You can manage travel expenses and reduce employee fraud using expense management software.


8. Employee training policies

If your company offers training and development opportunities, you should have policies explaining responsibilities for employees and the organization.

The types of training you offer to employees will differ based on the team and type of training involved. To ensure a successful training and development program, create training KPIs for each training you offer or purchase.


9. Occupational health and safety policies 

Part of your role as HR is to create occupational health and safety policies.

These should cover your headquarters and any other business locations, owned or managed by your organization. Other locations can include secondary offices, factories, construction sites, agricultural areas…etc.

Each location should have its own health and safety policies. These policies should be placed in visible areas like at building entrances. HR and management should stress the importance of following health and safety policies and protocols.

Training drills for fire or hazards (in factories) should be included as part of the health and safety policy.


10. Recruitment policies

Highlighting your organization’s recruitment policies is essential in the employee handbook. They explain your organization’s values and the values you seek in new hires.

Recruitment policies include everything from notice periods, to job offers, diversity and inclusion, employee onboarding, and more.


11. Healthy work environment policy

Every company wants to have a healthy work environment that not only attracts candidates but also ensures employees maintain a work-life balance.



Final words

Many companies today may overlook creating HR policies for their employees. HR isn’t just recruitment and hiring people to fill vacant positions.

There are many HR functions that employers aren’t aware of or familiar with. With HR policies and procedures, many smaller organizations overlook them only to realize too late that they need help and a reference.

Having an up-to-date Employee Handbook ensures your employees can manage the business and have something to refer to.


Need help outlining your company’s HR policies to create you Employee Handbook?

Get in touch with Tawzef and we’ll help you create your HR policies and manage your various HR needs.

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