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Basics of Employee HandbooksAvoid Misunderstandings!

When an Employee Handbook Comes in Truly.... well... Handy


Employee handbooks come in all sizes from a few pages to dictionary-sized, but all follow a similar basic structure.

Employee Handbooks are:

  • Are a collection of Employer Policies and Rules.

  • They may contain Company Historical or Cultural information. This can set a nice tone, but should be kept brief since it is not central to the purpose of the handbook and may cause employees to skim or not read the important features.

  • They impose set rules and expectations from employees.

It is recommended that handbooks be distributed to employees at hiring or when issuing a new edition or update.

Traditionally they were printed in a booklet format such as a ring-binder style or other flexible format that is easy to update with new pages, etc.

However, with the growth of the Internet, web-based electronic formats are becoming popular because they are easier to update and change.

  • It is recommended that if both printed and electronic versions are used, that the employees be aware that the electronic version is the primary authority and should be consulted when questions arise.

  • Is is recommended that you include a disclaimer as part of the initial acknowledgement stating that it is the employee’s responsibility to keep up with changes and amendments.


There are many good reasons to go to the trouble of creating one. Some of the main reasons are:

  • To communicate Company Policies and Procedures so that everyone is on the same page.

  • To establish certain Legal Protections that limit how an employee can sue you.

  • To convey Information for Employee use.

  • To promote Consistent Treatment, for example, attendance policies. Consistent treatment is one of the best ways to avoid discrimination cases.

  • To contribute to Positive Employee Relations. It promotes open communication. It promotes company culture and a sense of pride. It sets expectations. It provides for consistent, predictable treatment. Inconsistency causes employee insecurity and often leads to union organizing. Unions will use the lack of a handbook to make the argument that employees are at the mercy of the whims of the employer.


Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to have a handbook. Some reasons are:

  • Your Company is too small. Most dealers are not this small however.

  • You won’t keep up with It so why bother?

  • You like to manage by seat of your pants. Fewer dealers and managers operate this way because of the huge legal downside.

  • You’re not willing to invest time/money to do it right! Free handbooks can be found on Google, however they may have mistakes which could be costly.

This from the DealersEdge Guide – Employee Handbook Guide for Auto Dealerships. See below for info on how to get a copy for your desk.

Hard Copy and PDF Format

Guide Book Includes 60+ Sample Policy Statements – Choose and Edit to Your Needs Based on U.S. Legal Requirements

Guide Includes:

  • Complete set of Standard Policies that should be included in Every Employee Handbook

  • Wide Selection of Optional Policies - pick and choose which work best for your organization

  • Special Policies that can apply to your locale, holiday parties, etc.- Again pick and choose

  • Complete Generic Sample Employee Handbook- See what the finished product will look like

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