Personalize Your Employee Handbook for the New Year
When was the last time you updated your employee handbook?
If your answer to this question is more than a year ago, then it’s time to dig that handbook out from the dark pit of your filing cabinet where it’s been gathering dust. As employment laws, court judgments and regulations are constantly changing, it is imperative to update and personalize your handbook to reflect these changes. It is recommended that you review and update your employee handbook at least annually.
“But no one reads it!” you might be thinking. Reality check, that’s not an excuse to not update it.
You can be sure that if an employee sues you, his or her attorney would use it against you if you do not have an up to date and well-crafted handbook.
Take the time to personalize your employee handbook to make it more than just a handbook. Use the following tips to transform your current employee handbook into a guide that your employees will enjoy reading and boost the way they represent your company values and principles.
Make it Interesting
The minute you read the infamous two words, “employee handbook”, what comes to mind? Probably “boilerplate text” and a compilation of policies and repercussions. No one really wants to read dry and unoriginal writing, especially if it is mostly just policies.
Add some color to your handbook, instead of calling it “employee handbook”, name it something more interesting that will catch your employees’ attention. One good example is Sterling Mining Co. who ditched the boring “Employee Handbook” name and called it “The Sterling Culture Code”.
Your next step is to think about who you are as a company and how you would want your employees to represent your brand. Convey your mission, vision, and value throughout the guide. Setting these three key components will help establish the framework for your policies.
Craft Policies that Represent your Culture
Sure, you’ll want policies that inform your employees about attendance, PTO, and disciplinary procedures in accordance with current employment laws and regulations, but what you don’t want is to just include vague policies using language that does not represent your culture. You want to build policies consistent with your culture and emphasize the collective “we.”
If you take a look at Hubspot’s Culture Code slideshow, they not only document their company’s policies, but they do it in a creative way to represent their goofy and playful culture and at the same time they keep their readers engaged.
Here are some policies where you can make your brand shine:
Code of Conduct
Articulate the image you seek to represent internally and to clients by promoting positive behaviors that align with your company values.
Diversity and Inclusion
Make this portion more interactive. For example, you can involve your current employees by including personal anecdotes that showcase how diverse and dynamic your company is.
Don’t Hide your New Work of Art
After all that hard work, you don’t want to go back to burying your new guide. Your final step is to bring your policies to life. And how can you do that?
- Make it easily accessible online in different formats and mediums.
- Include it in your onboarding process for new hires.
- Incorporate it in any training or orientations for new employees.
- Make sure each employee acknowledges and signs it when they are initially employed and each year when it is updated.
A great example you can look at is The Motley Fools “Fool Rules” interactive handbook. Not only they stayed away from naming it “Employee Handbook” but they made it interactive, crafted policies that represented their culture and made it accessible to everyone.
Still not convinced? Read our other blog on the topic “Does My Company Need an Employee Handbook?” to help you get started.