Employee Handbook vs. Procedure Manual

What is the difference between an employee handbook and a procedure manual?

A separate procedural manual and an employee handbook? Seems excessive.

This is a common reaction; many feel there is already too many required forms and paperwork in employing workers. Cardinal’s basic employee handbook has grown by 1.5 pages per year in the last 15 years. Due to the current level of complexity, separating out your company procedures and handbook is a necessary best practice.



A handbook, in its most basic form, is a list of items that employers are required to address such as legal provisions with employment, HR policies and best practices, employee benefits and company requirements for those employed in your organization. In Oregon-a sick leave policy, a harassment policy and company DRUG TESTING requirements are good examples of topics found in a handbook. The content of a handbook changes only upon review (usually performed annually) or when there is a change in requirements dictated by new legislative regulations.



A procedural manual, sometimes referred to as an operations guide, is how your employees implement your business tasks. Think of it as an instruction manual-living documents that will undergo frequent changes. This manual will describe how employees perform their job functions in servicing your customers, producing a product or fulfilling orders.

Of course there are going to many items in both a handbook and procedural manual that will overlap. Safety is an example. Your handbook will address compliance with safety requirements in a general sense, while the manual will detail how the employee complies with safety rules and the law while performing their job.

If you co-employ with Cardinal, we keep your handbook up to date with the latest required changes. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need assistance in evaluating or creating a employee handbook. Cardinal offers handbooks that range from a basic version to a customized version that is crafted specifically to your company or industry.