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Emma Uchendu: Every Small Business Should Have an Employee Handbook

Aside from helping you outline your firm’s rules, regulations and policies, a great handbook clearly communicates your company’s vision, mission, and values which forms a part of your firm’s culture to your employees.

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An Employee Handbook is often not considered an important document for employee management by most small business owners. It’s usually seen as something meant for only bigger establishments like KPMG, Coca-Cola, government agencies and other big firms in different industries. This is a result of the absence of an in-house HR team, capacity and funds to set up one. Thus exposing employers to the danger of HR and employment law violation.

This is not right. The Employee Handbook remains very important to both big and small enterprises, startups or already established firms. It helps you set out a smooth and clear running ground for your firm.

Although the employee handbook is not compulsory, it is advisable to have one tailored to suit your business and workplace culture. Hiring, on-boarding and general human resource management is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face each day.

In order to mitigate these prevalent HR compliance issues and enable you get on a smooth start, one thing I will advise small business owners to do is to create an Employee Handbook. This is not an ultimate solution to HR issues but would go a very long way to help small business owners put their business employee management structure in check.


What is an Employee Handbook?

It is a document containing your small business operating procedure. It defines your business key policies and procedures, and outlines your workplace culture. It is usually given to your staff upon their first day of employment. An effective employee handbook clearly communicates your company’s mission, values, policies, rules and regulations to your new and existing employees.

Now that we have understood what an employee handbook actually entails, let’s look at some reasons you should create one for your small business.

It outlines the dos and don’ts of your business

Employee handbook helps you outline your business dos and don’ts, rules, regulation, procedures, and policy guiding every staff, admin, system, and department in your firms. It also helps you outline sanctions and disciplinary measures applicable in case of default. This helps you to orient your employees on what is obtainable in your firm, attitudes, and behaviors that are encouraged and those that are strongly frowned at, as well as processes and procedures of running and doing things.

Improves On-boarding

An employee handbook is important in helping you and your business identify the need for a new job opening, decide whether to hire externally or internally, review job descriptions and write a job ad. It also helps you get approval for your job ad, select appropriate sources (external or internal) to post your job opening, decide on hiring stages and possible time frames, review resumes in our company database/ATS, source passive candidates and shortlist applicants.

It helps your employees know their employment type – whether full time or part-time, the rules guiding their remuneration and work timing. The new employee actually gets to learn a lot of things on their own and get answers to most questions about your firm – its values, missions, employee remuneration, and vision. Having and actually giving your new staff a handbook saves you from a whole lot of work and stress.

It outlines the company’s culture

Aside from helping you outline your firm’s rules, regulations and policies, a great handbook clearly communicates your company’s vision, mission, and values which forms a part of your firm’s culture to your employees.

Your employees get to know who you are, what you do, the kind of workplace culture you have or you are building, and how they can work with you in creating a productive workplace.

It saves time

Having an employee handbook is not only cost-effective but also saves time. It serves as a reference guide for employees and provides answers to most questions, processes, and procedures they need to learn about your firm. It also guides them on what to do in certain situations, whom to report to and actions to take afterward for the betterment of the firm and their career progress. Instead of running to you each time they have a question, they can easily find answers in the handbook.

I hope you find this valuable enough to handle your firm’s business operations without the presence of an in-house HR team. However, as time goes on, it’s advisable to get an experienced employment expert to review your document in line with your country law.

Do you have any questions or confusion about this? Let’s talk about it in the comment section.

Emma Uchendu is the founder of Stuch Accounting Services. A tech-savvy bookkeeping firm that offers bookkeeping and accounting software services to small businesses in Nigeria. Emma is also passionate about providing sustainable solutions to unemployment & employability issues in Nigeria through his Startup Everitinjob Services Ng by helping job seekers land a job, kick off their career journey smoothly, and acquire valuable employability skills for the workplace through online and physical courses. Would you love to speak to Emma? Reach out via email: [email protected] or [email protected],


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