5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs an Employee Handbook

Did you know that an employee handbook can help you improve your onboarding experience, enhance employee engagement, and establish clear expectations?

Here are the top 5 reasons why your small business needs an employee handbook 

1. Onboarding and Employee Engagement  

A thorough employee handbook can help you develop a productive workplace that promotes employee engagement and retention. By implementing policies that support work-life balance, professional growth, and employee appreciation you are showing your staff that you value their efforts and are concerned about their wellbeing. Setting employees up for success can improve job satisfaction and lower employee turnover rates. 

2. Clear Employee Expectations 

Fair and equitable treatment of all employees is important! Your expectations and policies regarding employees and supervisors/management should be made clear in your handbook, preventing any ambiguity or misconceptions. Setting clear expectations can also enhance the lines of communication between employees and supervisors, fostering more fruitful and gratifying working relationships.

3. Job Satisfaction

For both new and long-term employees, your employee handbook can be a helpful training tool. Making sure that every employee has access to the information they need to inform their employment journey can present opportunities for growth and career advancement, resulting in employees that are more motivated and fulfilled. 

4. Legal Compliance 

You can save hassle in the long run by having an employee handbook that complies with provincial and/or federal standards. Anti-discrimination policies, harassment prevention, and employee rights and perks should all be covered in your handbook. To protect your company and your time, it is crucial that your policies reflect the most recent laws and regulations. It is recommended that the final draft be reviewed by a certified professional, i.e., employment lawyer.  

5. Employer Branding 

A communicative workplace can help attract and retain top talent. Separate your business from the competition by highlighting your organization's values, mission, and distinctive culture. This helps in assembling a team of motivated people that are committed to and enthusiastic about their work. 

The employee handbook is an essential tool for successfully integrating new employees into your team and building a strong foundation for your small business. That being said, it can become a real headache if you don’t have access to the services of a human resources expert to help. The good news is that, as a CFIB member, you have access to a comprehensive, easy-to-use Employee Handbook Template that serves as an excellent starting point for creating a manual tailored to the unique needs of your business. 

How to use CFIB's
Employee Handbook Template

You need to adapt this template to meet the specific requirements of your business, before giving it to your employees.  

Words highlighted in grey must be replaced by information specific to your business and/or province.

Words in blue are tips and/or hints to help guide you; these must be deleted prior to printing or distributing your handbook. 

Add any missing or additional elements that might be relevant and specific to your business. 


The content of this template is broadly inspired by the Labour Standards Act. It is important to update your completed manual periodically to coincide with updates in legislation, regulations, and internal policy changes as they occur. 

Due to differing legislation, there is a separate CFIB handbook template for businesses in Quebec, which can be found here. This template is currently only available in French for Quebec, and English for the remaining provinces and territories. 

As a CFIB member, you get exclusive and unlimited access to our knowledgeable business advisors. If you experience any difficulties with this template, please contact us. We are here for guidance as you create your customized employee handbook.