Four Tips For A Better Employee Handbook
Updated: Mar 2
I think and talk a lot about employee handbooks, because every company should have one. I've seen flashy, image-forward handbooks, traditional paper binders, and everything in between. At a minimum, your handbook should contain your mission and vision statement (if you have one), policies and procedures, rules, legal disclaimers, and should be vetted by an employment attorney. But here are some other ideas to spice things up with the goal of creating a solid, engaging employee handbook.
1. Mind Your Tone
Your handbook can be a reflection of your company culture. You want employees to feel like they're part of something when they read it. This starts with the tone of the document.
Are you a casual company? Make your handbook reflect a laid-back vibe. Include cartoons or other engaging visuals. Employees will be more likely to read it if it's interesting to look at. You could even consider adding a quiz or some other interactive element.
If you're a professional services company, you may want to adopt a more serious tone. Think: Times New Roman, a lot of structure, and clean lines.
What if you're a design firm? Use your handbook as a way to showcase your artistic sensibilities.
Be sure to keep the tone of your handbook consistent throughout. You don't want employees feeling like they're reading two different documents.
The point is, your handbook should be unique to your company. It's a way for you to communicate who you are and what you stand for. So take the time to make it special.
2. Showcase Your Brand Guidelines
If you have a set of brand guidelines, your handbook is the perfect place to showcase them. It's an opportunity for employees to understand how to use your logo and other branded elements in their work. At many companies, it's important that everyone uses the same color palettes, fonts, etc., and a handbook that reflects this will set the tone from the outset of employment.
3. Keep It Engaging
By their very nature, employee handbooks often have long paragraphs of text. Be sure to put the “good stuff” at the beginning and end of each section so employees can easily find what they want to know without digging through those long paragraphs.
Another way to make your employee handbook more engaging is to include fun facts about your company. For example, you could list the total number of employees who have been with the company for five years or more, highlight a few major accomplishments that the company has achieved, or even include a timeline and history of the company. This can help employees feel proud to be a part of the organization and give them a better understanding of its history and culture.
Your handbook is a great opportunity to showcase your company's culture. Why not add images and videos of employees in action? This will help employees feel like they're already a part of the team. You can also highlight any special initiatives or programs you have going on. The point is, use every opportunity to engage employees and make them feel like they're a part of something bigger.
4. Think Outside of The Box
Here are a few non-traditional ideas to make your handbook stand out:
Include employee photos - This is a great way to add personality to your handbook. Employees will enjoy looking through the pages and seeing themselves represented in print. Plus, it helps build a sense of community among employees.
Include quotes from management or other employees - Adding quotes (positive ones!) is a great way to add personality to your handbook. It also reinforces the company's values and shows that management is committed to them.
Use infographics - Infographics are a fun, visual way of getting your point across. They can help explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. Plus, they're more likely to be read than text-heavy pages.
Instead of thinking about your employee handbook as just another document employees need to sign off on, use it as a tool to engage and motivate your employees. I don't think you'll regret it!