Best Employee Handbook for Small Business Checklist

Employee handbooks are essential to any business – including small businesses!

No matter the size of the company – an employee handbook is a resource that your employees not only need but deserve. New employees that are part of a well-structured and seamless onboarding process are 82% more likely to remain at a company for up to three years. Information like policies, benefits, company vision and more are all crucial pieces of info that your employees need to be aware of.

So, what are the benefits of having a small business employee handbook?

One of the first reasons you ll need to create a small business employee manual is to protect your business from a legal perspective. Small business employee handbooks need to contain all important policies and procedures expected from your staff, old and new! After all, it only reflects well on your brand, especially from a PR perspective. Aside from being a legal support, your employee handbook can be so much more! Here are some benefits of having a small business employee handbook:

  • Share your mission and values with your employees – inspire them to feel as though they belong in your company.
  • Use your small business handbook to talk about benefits and perks. The little things go a long way, so this is great to keep your employees engaged, excited and  reduce your turnover rates.
  • Take the opportunity to talk about your team. This is great for new hires as it helps them feel comfortable and at ease before they ve even started. 
  • Use the handbook as a chance to convey your company culture. What drives your small business to be different from the rest?

How do I avoid making my handbook look like everyone else s?

Your small business is different from a mega-corporation. It s unique! Because of that, it s important to not only think about the content of your handbook but also about how to make it stand out as much as your business does.  AirMason is your solution! Avoid legal jargon and long blocks of text that your employees definitely won t read. AirMason has a multitude of benefits that lets your company make onboarding a breeze and boost employee engagement easily.

How do I start?

We re here to give you the ultimate small business employee handbook checklist! With seven sections of useful handbook information, we ll make sure you won t miss a thing. It s time to create a small business handbook that makes onboarding a dream. Under this paragraph, you ll find an attachment checklist image we made for you that you can download for free and fill out as you go.

A checklist in image form of the points listed below - employee handbook for small business

AirMason is the top HR software for small businesses! With just a couple of clicks, you ll have built your very own unique and creative employee handbook. Click here to book a FREE demo with one of our sales reps!

Section #1 – What your small business handbook should look like

Modern employee handbooks should be filled to the brim with colours, branding and visuals. Long gone are the days of massive word docs! Here are some of the easiest ways to include exciting colours and visuals in your new small business employee handbook. On top of visuals, here are some formatting tips to keep in mind while you write up your handbook.

Section #2 – Your Company Story

Your small business is unique and stands out! Every single employee needs to know exactly how your small business reached its current point and the goals it wants to achieve. Innovation starts from within, no one knows that better than you! The first section of your small business employee handbook needs to touch on this and help your employees learn about what makes working here so special.

  • What makes you different?
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What are your values?
  • How about your mission statement?
  • What s your company story? How did you get here?

Section #3 – Policies

Moving on to one of the most important sections of your small business employee handbook, it s time to let your employees know about the policies that ll apply to them as they work here! Your employees will likely rely on this section the most as they check back for useful information, so make sure to spare no details. 

However – let s still make sure to avoid giant blocks of text, they discourage reading and make your employees feel alienated from the company. After all, giant text documents are what lead to 60% of staff avoiding reading their employee handbook altogether.

  • Who do your employees report to?
  • How is your compensation structured?
  • When do your employees get paid?
  • What documents do they need to provide you with?
  • What are their work hours? Overtime?
  • Do they have a set lunch or break time?
  • Do they own a percentage of the company?
  • Do they make commissions? How is it structured?
  • All other work-related policies your employees need to know about!

Section #4 – Compliance and Benefits

Another essential section of your small business employee handbook is your compliance and benefits section! Your compliances are all crucial pieces of information that you need to make sure are included within your small business employee handbook, such as disability and anti-harassment compliances that your employees should keep in mind. These pieces of information are very location-specific – so we advise you to consult your local employment laws.

Your benefits however are very essential for your small business employees – make sure to let them know about all the great perks of working at your company!

  • Make sure you comply with all state/province and federal employment laws
  • What benefits does your company offer?
  • Insurance? 
  • Pension? 
  • Worker s compensation?
  • Workplace vehicle? 
  • Workplace phone/computer/tools?
  • Free food? 
  • Events?
  • Other fantastic benefits you have!

Section #5 – Time Off and Vacation

All employees will eventually need to take some time off for sick days or for vacation! It s essential to let them know how much time is available for them and what the protocol is for taking that time off!

  • Sick Day policy?
  • How many vacation days?
  • How to take off vacation days?
  • Leave of absence?
  • Holidays?

Section #6 – Office Conduct + Termination/Resignation

Two very important parts to consider in this section! Despite currently being in the digital age, company conduct is essential to specify and document so your employees know what to expect either through back in-office or remote work! In addition to this, your employees may someday leave the company and need to know the policies relevant to this process.

  • Policy on fireable offences?
  • Social media regulations? 
  • Drug usage? 
  • Employee uniform?
  • Termination and Resignation policies?

Section #7 – Employee Signature

All of these policies and information are essential for your small business, but you need to also make sure your employees are taking the time to read and process all of this information. How do you make sure employees are reading your handbook? AirMason has a solution! AirMason offers electronic employee signatures in addition to allowing you to see when and how long each employee spent reading your handbook.

This is a lot of paper and a lot of information – wouldn t this be better online with AirMason? Your employees can access this anytime and anywhere! Book a demo today and learn more about how AirMason is the perfect solution to every growing small business!


Tehsin Bhayani

AirMason was born when Tehsin was trying to create a digital culture book, but couldn’t find any solutions in the market that had all the features he needed. In 2016, AirMason officially launched. In five years, AirMason has created thousands of handbooks for more than 1,000 clients around the world.

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