6 awesome employee handbooks

Employee handbook by Austin Fraser

We’ve talked in the past about how an amazing welcome kit can magically transform a new hire into a loyal employee. Now that your creative juices are flowing, it’s time to talk about another crucial part of the onboarding process: the employee handbook.

Employee handbooks are versatile little documents. They can do everything from waxing poetic on a company’s mission and values to answering frequently asked questions about the group benefits plan. More generally, though, a handbook tells employees what is expected of them – and what they can expect of the company.

Ready for a little inspiration? Here’s a look at six awesome employee handbooks.

Austin Fraser

The IT and engineering recruitment company commissioned London design studio Felt Branding to overhaul its brand identity, and that included creating this pint-sized employee handbook, a.k.a. the “Little book of house rules.” The language is pleasantly casual and concise (section titles include “If you’re unhappy,” and “If you’re naughty.”) with a simple aesthetic that closely ties in with the overall look of the brand (also shown above).

Big Spaceship 

“This book won’t provide details about your 401(k), show you how to access the internal server, or help you set up your email account,” says the intro to this online manual, the result of a hack day project at the New York ad agency. “It will help you begin to understand our values and the way we make decisions as a team and as a company.”

The whopping 80-page handbook includes a missive on why dogs are allowed at work, a list of buzzwords to avoid, and a hilarious FAQ section. But the final page is our favourite: it’s a bucket list of things for new hires to do to fit in at the agency, from “Steal someone’s chair” to, simply, “Talk to Dave.”

Employee handbook by Big Spaceship Co.
Memoria Visual

“Although our soul is in the digital realm we do like to go out and smell the flowers,” says the Portugal web development company. “So we decided to produce a different kind of culture handbook. In a very analogue paper format.”

The resulting handbook offers a broad look at the company’s values and approach using a space travel theme (the title is “A voyage to Pluto,” after all). Like many of the other employee handbooks in this list, the language is fun, causal, and extremely upbeat. “All in a fast paced story format with robots, skunks and a bright red cover,” says Memoria.

Employee handbook by Memoria Visual
The Motley Fool

The downside of a printed employee handbook is that you need to re-print it whenever there are policy changes. To allow for changes to be made more easily, this multimedia financial services company opted for an online interactive handbook, “The Fool Rules!” complete with video, interactive maps, and a glossary of terms at the end. This format also allows the content to stay short and concise, with links to more detailed information.


Big, bold statements adorn this marketing agency’s “little piece of life support,” as they call it. The handbook is devoid of almost any imagery (save a few icons and one picture of a cupcake), but the text is dramatic enough. Info on the vision statement, core values, management style, and philosophy are sprinkled between brightly-hued pages with huge statements like “Leave politics to the politicians,” and “ZGM is like Saskatchewan. Flat.”

Employee handbook by ZGM

It should come as no surprise that a video game developer has an employee handbook filled with cool visuals. There are awesomely weird drawings, creative charts, and – our favourite – old-school instructional diagrams that provide step-by-step directions on everything from moving your desk to working without a boss.

That in mind, this handbook is fairly text-heavy – though it’s less of a day-to-day guide and more of an overview of the company’s mandate and approach. In fact, according to the intro: “Mainly, it’s about how not to freak out now that you’re here.”

What more could we ask for from a handbook?

See also:
5 amazing employee welcome kits
9 unique employee perks to attract talent


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