7 Employee Handbook Examples To Empower Your Workforce

Having a comprehensive employee handbook is an essential part of running any business. 

It sets out expectations and guides to help everyone understand what is expected. But crafting the perfect manual can be a challenge. 

To make it easier, we’ve compiled seven excellent employee handbook examples to help you get started. 

An essential component of managing a successful company is having an employee handbook. It helps to set expectations and provides employees with important information about the company. 

Critical Topics To Add To Employee Handbook 

Some of the critical topics that should be included in an employee handbook include:

Professional Standards 

This outlines the expectations of an employee’s conduct and behavior while employed with the company.

Benefits & Leave 

This section outlines employee benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. It also covers the rules and regulations surrounding employee leave.

Workplace Safety 

Outlines the safety measures that need to be taken by both employees and employers to maintain a safe working environment.

Grievance & Disciplinary Procedures 

This explains how the company will handle grievances and disciplinary issues.

Rules & Regulations 

This section outlines all the rules and regulations employees must abide by while working for the company. 

In addition to the abovementioned topics, several other sections could be included in an employee handbook depending on the company’s needs. 

Examples of these may include diversity & inclusion policies, non-discrimination policies, and even a section on dress code. 

Now let’s look at some great examples of employee handbooks from successful companies.

Employee Handbook Examples

Here are the seven most fantastic employee handbook examples:

1) Google’s Search Inside Yourself

Google’s Search Inside Yourself (SIY) is an employee handbook created to help employees tap into their inner potential. 

This handbook promotes mindful leadership and provides various tools for employees to understand themselves better, their colleagues, and their environment. 

  • It covers self-awareness, attention training, emotional intelligence, relationships, and ethical decision-making.
  • The SIY handbook offers a unique approach to understanding how our minds work and using that knowledge to make better decisions.
  •  It also encourages employees to be mindful of their company’s values and how those can be applied to daily life.
  • Through interactive exercises, tips, and activities, Google’s Search Inside Yourself handbook provides an in-depth look at how to create a more effective and mindful workplace.
  • In addition to providing an educational resource, Google’s Search Inside Yourself handbook also serves as a tool for employees to develop meaningful relationships within their teams. 
  • Through this handbook, employees can become more aware of their needs and feelings and learn to communicate more effectively with their coworkers. 
  • Google’s Search Inside Yourself encourages employees to take personal responsibility for their actions and interactions with others.
  • This handbook is designed to provide employees with the skills and knowledge necessary for self-improvement, increased productivity, and successful collaborations. 
  • Using the techniques outlined in the SIY handbook, employees can become more mindful of their behavior and better equipped to handle difficult situations and conversations.

2) Menlo Innovations’ The Little Red Book of Rules 

Menlo Innovations’ The Little Red Book of Rules is a concise guidebook that outlines the company’s core values, processes, and principles. 

The Little Red Book states that employees should produce high-quality products and provide excellent customer service. It also emphasizes the importance of collaboration, respect, and respect for diversity. 

Additionally, it stresses the need for continuous learning from colleagues and customers. By adhering to these rules, Menlo Innovations strives to establish a welcoming and cooperative atmosphere that honors each member with respect.

3) Buffer’s The Buffer Way

Buffer’s employee handbook, The Buffer Way, outlines the company’s mission, vision, values, and expectations. It is designed to guide employees on how to work together most efficiently and effectively. 

It outlines the company’s commitment to transparency, collaboration, trust, and respect for others. It also encourages employees to use empathy, share feedback, and be creative. Lastly, it encourages employees to practice self-care and take time off when needed. 

Using these principles, Buffer aims to cultivate a culture of appreciation and respect for its employees.

4) Warby Parker’s The Warby Parker Classroom 

Warby Parker’s The Warby Parker Classroom is an employee handbook focused on building an enjoyable and productive workplace environment. 

It stresses the importance of respect, trust, and teamwork among colleagues and establishes an environment for honest and constructive dialogue. 

The handbook also outlines clear employee expectations, including core values, key performance indicators, and department-specific objectives. 

It also features guidelines for creating a safe, respectful work environment and mental health resources. Warby Parker strives to develop a culture of excellence, collaboration, and growth with this comprehensive guide.

5) HubSpot’s HubSpot Culture Code 

The HubSpot Culture Code outlines the company’s principles, beliefs, and values. This guide helps employees and customers understand the core values driving their business. 

It covers topics such as putting customer success first, fostering an open, diverse, and inclusive environment, embracing change and failure, cultivating a culture of growth and collaboration, and more. 

By following this code, HubSpot can create a consistent experience for everyone in their organization.

6) REI’s The REI Way 

Rei’s The REI Way is an employee handbook focusing on the company’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and customer service. 

This comprehensive handbook covers environmental stewardship, healthy working relationships, ethical business practices, and safety. 

By promoting a strong sense of corporate responsibility, REI’s The REI Way encourages employees to act with integrity, respect, and compassion. 

It also outlines their teamwork and collaboration, decision-making, and goal-setting approach. In addition, the handbook guides employees in managing their work-life balance and provides resources for further learning.

7) Zappos’ The Zappos Family Core Values

Zappos has become known for its unique and innovative approach to customer service and workplace culture. 

“The Zappos Family Core Values” are at the core of all Zappos employees’ decisions, embodying the heart of their approach. 

These core values include delivering “WOW through service,” embracing and driving change, creating fun and a little weirdness, being adventurous, open, and honest, prioritizing growth and learning, fostering transparent and sincere connections through communication, maximizing efficiency, and embodying enthusiasm and perseverance. 

These values remind employees of the importance of prioritizing customer service, having fun while working, and showing care and respect to others. 

By adhering to these values, Zappos hopes to foster a culture of positivity, integrity, and collaboration.

Legal Considerations for Employee Handbooks

When creating an employee handbook, it’s important to consider various legal factors to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Here are some key legal considerations to keep in mind:

Employment laws

Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal employment laws that govern your jurisdiction, such as anti-discrimination laws, minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations, and family leave laws.

Ensure that your policies align with these laws and that you communicate them clearly to employees.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

Include an EEO statement affirming your commitment to providing equal employment opportunities and prohibiting discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age.

Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies

Establish policies that address harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Clearly define prohibited behavior, reporting procedures, and the consequences for violating these policies.

Encourage employees to report incidents promptly and assure them that retaliation will not be tolerated.

Privacy and data protection

Address how employee data will be collected, stored, and used, ensuring compliance with applicable privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if applicable.

Inform employees of their rights regarding their personal information and outline security measures to protect sensitive data.

Employee classification

Distinguish between different employment classifications (e.g., full-time, part-time, temporary) and clearly define each category’s rights, benefits, and obligations.

Comply with laws related to wages, hours, and employment status.

Wage and hour policies

Establish policies that comply with wage and hour laws, including rules on overtime, meal and rest breaks, and timekeeping.

Clearly communicate expectations, record-keeping procedures, and pay periods.

Leaves of absence

Outline the company’s policies regarding vacation, sick leave, family and medical leave, and other types of leave.

Ensure compliance with applicable laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or similar legislation.

Safety and workplace policies

Establish guidelines for workplace safety, including procedures for reporting accidents, addressing hazards, and complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.

Communicate policies on workplace conduct, dress code, use of company property, and other relevant matters.

Social media and technology

Address the use of social media and technology in the workplace, including guidelines for appropriate use, restrictions on confidential information sharing, and monitoring practices.

Consider the implications of local labor laws and privacy regulations.

Dispute resolution

Clearly define the dispute resolution process, including arbitration or mediation procedures if applicable.

Specify whether the employee handbook constitutes an employment contract and include an acknowledgment of employee receipt and understanding.

Key Takeaways

  • A comprehensive employee handbook is crucial for any business as it sets expectations and provides guidance for employees.
  • Essential topics to include in an employee handbook are professional standards, benefits and leave, workplace safety, grievance and disciplinary procedures, and rules and regulations.
  • Other sections that can be included depending on the company’s needs are diversity and inclusion policies, non-discrimination policies, and dress code guidelines.
  • The article presents seven outstanding employee handbook examples from successful companies, including Google’s Search Inside Yourself, Menlo Innovations’ The Little Red Book of Rules, Buffer’s The Buffer Way, Warby Parker’s The Warby Parker Classroom, HubSpot’s HubSpot Culture Code, REI’s The REI Way, and Zappos’ The Zappos Family Core Values.
  • Each example handbook showcases different aspects, such as promoting mindful leadership, emphasizing core values, encouraging transparency and collaboration, fostering a positive work environment, and prioritizing customer service and workplace culture.


How can employee handbooks contribute to a positive work culture?

Employee handbooks can contribute to a positive work culture by promoting transparency, fostering open communication, establishing clear expectations, recognizing and valuing diversity, providing resources for employee growth and development, and creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

Can an employee handbook be customized to suit a specific company’s needs?

Yes, an employee handbook can and should be customized to suit a specific company’s needs. It should reflect the company’s values, policies, and practices.

However, it’s important to ensure that the handbook remains compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

Can an employee handbook be updated or revised over time?

An employee handbook should be regularly reviewed, updated, and revised as needed. It should reflect any changes in laws, regulations, company policies, or industry practices.

It’s crucial to communicate any updates or revisions to employees and ensure their understanding of the changes.

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