Employment Basics

This chapter is for organizations who have hired—or are hiring—their first employee, and are looking to level up their employee experience. Read it or download it below to get started.

A great way to start becoming a better employer is to codify your values into an employee handbook. There's no magic trick to this—you can do it in a few simple steps.

To start off your employee handbook, write the basics down first. Once employees are familiar with your company's mission, it's important that they understand your values and policies. Educating your employees can help you in many ways, whether that's improving employee satisfaction, growing your customer base, or recruiting new talent.

In this post, we've written a template to kick off your employee handbook that you can use as a guide to writing your own. You can download this as a PDF here. We have specified in [brackets] areas that you should change yourself, such as inserting your company name.

Note: This chapter is not a legal document and does not consider local, state-specific, national, or international laws. Please consult a lawyer in your state to approve your final employee handbook.

In this article:

  • Types of employees
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement
  • Recruitment and hiring process
  • Referrals
  • Background checks
  • References
  • Attendance

Types of employees

If you're looking to establish a benefits program for your employees, it's important to make the distinction between full-time or part-time employees, as they often receive different benefits.

The main two different types of employees are full-time or part-time employees. Here are the key differences:

Full-time Part-time
HoursOver 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month (on average)Under 30 hours per week
Contract lengthContract or salaryContract or salary
Benefits Full company benefits package if a salaried employeeDon't typically qualify for benefits but may have a partial benefits package if salaried

There are also other sub-categories such as temporary employees or seasonal employees. Temporary employees typically are hired to work for a set length of time or a project with a specific duration. And seasonal employees are typically hired for holidays or summer months. Both of these types of employees are typically given unemployment and Social Security benefits.

You may also work with or be hired as an independent contractor. Independent contractors are classified as 1099 (or as T4A in Canada). Here are the IRS guidelines around contractors, including how to determine whether you are working asor hiring an independent contractor.

Equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement

If you're looking to attract and retain great talent, it's critical to have an equal opportunity policy.

The below is a statement that covers how your company values diversity and inclusion, and that you're a fair employer who doesn't discriminate based on someone's background. Here's the statement:

[Company Name] is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, sexual orientation or expression, nationality, ethnicity, religion, disability, veteran status, background, or creed. We value all employees and mandate that every employee demonstrates respect to and works professionally with others.

At [Company Name], we:

  • Hire and promote based on merit and potential, including through skills, experience, and accomplishments
  • Reduce or eliminate bias at every stage of our hiring process, including by conducting unconscious bias training for all hiring managers
  • Value accessibility and we make our premises, products, and services accessible to people living with disabilities
  • Use inclusive language in official documents and advertisements for jobs

We also take strict disciplinary action on every infraction of these policies or any inappropriate behaviour. To report on the behaviour of another employee, please report any discriminatory action to your manager. Our company has a policy of non-retaliation if you file a complaint or a lawsuit.

Recruitment and hiring process

If you're looking to hire new employees - or to source your talent from within your company - there are some common processes that you could follow.

At [Company Name], we look to hire top talent and we have a fair and thorough recruitment process.

Here are the high level steps that we typically follow when hiring for a new role:

  1. We identify the new role that we need to hire for
  2. Craft a job description
  3. Post on relevant sites e.g. LinkedIn, Indeed.com and post internally, including to ask for referrals
  4. Review and shortlist applicants from job sites and from internal sources
  5. Screen and interview candidates (various stages based on job role)
  6. Run background checks and check references of top candidates
  7. Make an offer to the top candidate

Throughout the hiring process, we keep candidates well-informed of what to expect next. And if you are the one hiring, please know that you can ask your direct manager for help if you need help writing a job description. Furthermore, please work directly with your manager when considering salary ranges and planning offers to candidates.


If you want employees to refer great candidates to your company, consider offering an incentive policy. Note: if you don't have strong cash flow, you'll want to use more affordable incentives or simply a non-monetary bonus or gift that you can give to employees.

We encourage employees to refer known candidates for our open roles. We offer incentives for successful referrals [e.g. $1000 for a successful hire after 3 months of probation] or [a gift card to Starbucks]. So if you know someone who would be a good fit, please refer them.

Key rules for referrals

  • Referrals are only for full-time or part-time employees, not contractors
  • Referral rewards will be paid out typically past the probationary period of 3 months.
  • First come, first serve for referrals (for the same candidate)
  • Note: you'll still have to pay regular taxes on these rewards.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact your manager for more guidance.

Background checks

In general, it's good to practice due diligence on who you choose to hire. And particularly if your employees are handling sensitive data or clients, it's better to be safe than sorry.

We want to ensure that our employees meet high standards of behaviour. At minimum, this might be a close scan of a prospective employee's resume, contacting their references (more on that below), or scanning any public social media profiles for any red flags or offensive content.

Sometimes, depending on the role, this can include a criminal background check for candidates. For more details on requesting a criminal background check, please ask your manager or consult a lawyer for guidance, as this is a process with strict legal guidelines. You can read more about those guidelines at a high-level here.


If you are in the hiring process and want to get additional validation on a prospective hire, it's often worth reaching out a reference, such as a former boss.

We consider it important to ask for references for our employees, and will reach out to past employers whom a potential employee directly reported to, in order to verify the credibility of their work record or to gain more information about them. Please ask your manager for guidance and also only do this with the candidate's consent and permission.

Attendance policy

If you're finding that employees are coming in late or inconsistently, it might be time to implement an attendance policy.

You should be present at work during your scheduled work hours. Typically, for salaried full-time employees, that's from 9am-5pm, for an 8-hour day; however this varies from company to company

If you face an emergency or illness that prevents you from coming to work, please contact your manager as soon as you can. If for some reason you can't make contact, we will excuse serious accidents and emergencies. But in general, please let us know if you won't be coming into work, and do what you can to ensure that work is still completed in your absence.

Read next: Workplace Policies