Putting a Handbook Together

Apart from deciding what goes in the handbook, there are a few mechanical issues that you'll need to address.

The name of your handbook. You can just call it "Employee Handbook," but you may choose to be more creative. Just make sure the name doesn't imply any lasting employment contract.


Don't call the handbook something like "Your Career Here at ABC Company." You might be implying that all employees can look forward to a career with you or that you offer lifetime employment. Don't create a contract.

The size and shape of your handbook. The size of the booklet is also an important consideration. If it is too small, it will probably get lost. On the other hand, if it is so big that it will not fit into an employee's pocket, purse, or lunch box, it will probably be put somewhere out of the way. Typical handbooks range from 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" to 5" x 7". Or, you can forego paper altogether by providing your handbook in an electronic form, such as in a computer file that everyone can read, but that only you can edit.

How you want the handbook to look. For example, consider the following questions in determining how your handbook will look:

The writing style of your handbook. You want your handbook to be easy to read, but not too informal. Remember this is a formal and important document for your employees and whoever else might read it. Here are some tips for making the handbook easy to read.

Have someone review your writing. (See if you can get a local English professor or a reporter to review your work at no or low cost.)