by Matthew A. Struck, CPCU, ARM – November 25, 2017

Some HR Professionals refer to it as their Bible. An employee handbook is a necessary and crucial part of any organization’s human resources as well as risk management program. The information contained within it sets the expectations of anyone who works for or in an organization. It also outlines the rewards and disciplinary actions that may follow acceptable and unacceptable behavior. If you don’t have an HR Bible, you’d better get one immediately.

Benefits of Having an Employee Handbook
  • Introduces Employees to Your Culture, Mission and Values – these three items should be taken into consideration by every employee, every day – each decision should be made through the filters of culture, mission, and value
  • Communicates to Employees What is Expected of Them – in terms of their work product as well as conduct
  • Communicates to Employees What They Can Expect from Leadership – holds management accountable to stick with the policies and procedures and promotes consistency
  • Helps Ensure Key Policies are Clearly and Consistently Communicated – clear and consistent should be the two main goals when crafting the policies included in the handbook as well as when they are instituted
  • Showcases Your Benefits Package – let your employees know what they are getting beyond their salary – make sure to review the article on Employee Benefits Liability on Day 28 of this VLOG series (a good handbook is the primary defense)
  • Ensures Compliance with Federal and State Laws – sometimes frustrating but always necessary
  • Helps Defend Against Employee Claims – never allow an employee to be able to say that something wasn’t communicated to them or that a policy you are enforcing wasn’t done so consistently or to the letter of the handbook
  • Lets Employees Know Where to Go for Help – crucial if/when a harassment, unhealthy workplace, or discrimination allegation is made – also very helpful when employees need personal help (think Employee Assistance Program)
Employee Handbook Best Practices
  • Begin with a template but then tailor it to your specific industry/operation
  • Review the handbook annually for updates and communicate them effectively when they are needed
  • Have your attorney provide input and include them in the annual review
  • Steer clear of legal jargon so every employee can understand it and doesn’t feel overwhelmed
  • Don’t make it too wordy – be clear and concise
  • Make your handbook accessible – paper, website, email, mobile compatible, etc.
  • Include some flexibility – you can’t plan out every minute or interaction of your employees; always link your policies and procedures back to your culture, mission, and values
Other Resources

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*Treadstone Risk Management is an insurance broker and risk manager. We are not attorneys. Always seek legal counsel when changing/implementing any policies and procedures. Include your broker/risk manager in the process.
**If you have any questions regarding insurance program structures, coverage concerns, or alternate insurance options, please visit, follow Treadstone Risk Management on LinkedIn, on Twitter @TreadstoneRisk, on Facebook, on Youtube, or email

Treadstone Risk Management LLC was founded by two experienced insurance professionals who share a vision of providing the highest level of service and professional expertise to public and private sector Property & Casualty insurance clientele. Treadstone has identified a need in the insurance brokerage and risk management industry for an agency whose personnel possess the highest level of industry education, training, and experience. We pride ourselves on our ability to deploy those skills collectively through premier customer service and attention.