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The Essential Guide: Why Your Small Business Needs an Employee Handbook

Updated: Feb 8

Yes, even if you only have one or two employees!

As a small business owner, you might think that an employee handbook is something only big organizations need. However, even with just a few employees, having some sort of handbook in place is not only beneficial - but crucial. Here's why.


The Cornerstone of Clear Communication

An old wired telephone

An employee handbook serves as a foundational document that clearly outlines your business' policies, expectations, culture - exactly the way you want it to be. It's the first step in ensuring everyone is on the same page, literally and figuratively. This clarity is truly vital in small businesses where everyone is likely wearing multiple hats and may not have the clearest of job descriptions 😉


Benefits of an Employee Handbook in a Small Business

Establishes Clear Policies

Clearly written policies on anything from attendance to conduct set straightforward expectations for your team, reducing misunderstandings and the need for your input on every small issue.

Ensures Legal Compliance

A well crafted handbook helps you stay compliant with employment laws and out of trouble - a must in today's complex legal landscape.

Supports Onboarding and Training

For new hires, the handbook is a go-to resource that helps them acclimatize faster to your company's way of doing things, allowing them to make an impact way faster.

Protects Against Legal Disputes

You hope it never happens to you, but should any employment issue arise, your handbook can serve as a key document to protect both the employer and the employee.

Promotes Company Culture

It's a powerful tool to communicate your company's mission, values, and the way things get done - helping to foster a sense of belonging and alignment.


Key Components of an Employee Handbook


This is your chance to welcome employees to your company. What's your mission, vision, and values. What's truly important? How would you expect your employees to act in certain situations?

Company Policies

You can include detailed policies on anything that pertains to your business - from safety and confidentiality to remote work and travel.

Workplace Procedures

This is a great spot to include daily operational policies such as pay schedules, company org charts, tools to use, or how performance management works at your company.

Code of Conduct

We highly recommend always including a Code of Conduct explaining your expectations regarding employee behaviour and professionalism. Include info on how bullying and harassment is handled at your company, and how employees can report issues.

Benefits Information

Describe available perks and benefits, including any RRSP/401(k) plans, health insurance, and leave or vacation policies.

Acknowledgment Form

You should have all employees sign off on receiving your employee handbook, confirming they have read and understand the contents.


Implementing Your Handbook Early On

Introducing an employee handbook early on in your business, even before you hire your first employee, lays the perfect foundation for growth. It will help you scale your operations smoothly, and help you maintain the essence of what makes your business unique.


Convinced Yet?

At the end of the day, an employee handbook is much more than just a legal document only used in large corporations; it's a blueprint for your company's future. At Chase & Co. HR, we love helping small businesses craft handbooks that not only comply with legal standards, but also resonate with their unique culture, steering clear of overly legalistic jargon that can be hard for employees to understand.

Remember, it's never too early to start laying the groundwork for what success looks like for your business 🚀

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