Employment Enterprises Blog

5 ways to reinvent your employee handbook

Posted by Raquel DeSouza on Dec 1, 2016 9:07:02 AM

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employee handbook

An employee handbook is a must for every office. And no matter what your company decides to include in yours, it’s meant to be a go-to resource for employees.

Of course you know this, but does your handbook actually achieve its purpose or is it collecting dust in desk drawers? According to a study from GuideSpark, 43 percent of Millennials don’t read most of their employee handbook and 11 percent of them don’t even bother opening it.

Yikes that’s a waste of time and money. It’s also a missed opportunity to showcase your company culture in a fun and creative way with new team members.

Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because plenty of companies out there have already experimented and succeeded with different ideas. Below are 5 ways you can reinvent your employee handbook from a wordy, legal PDF to an engaging tool that truly represents your changing company culture.


1. Start off with a welcome video

Financial services company the Motley Fool, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, dedicates an entire URL for their unique employee handbook. It starts off with a short video from their CEO and in under one minute, the new hire can now put a face to the leader of the organization. Also don’t forget that there are ton of other visuals that can be added as well, like illustrations, graphs, timelines...the possibilities are truly endless with this one.


2. Be concise and talk like a human

Former CEO for Tribune Co., Sam Zells, made plenty of business decisions that raised eyebrows; some were good and some not so good. But one that was received as a breathe of fresh air was, you guessed it, the employee manual. The length was slashed from over 11,500 words to just 3,663 words, according to the LA Times. This tossed off the typical corporate-talk and instead used plain language.


3. Don’t be afraid to show humor

Valve, a game developer in Washington state, embrace their sense of humor with comics like “Method to taking the company trip” with step one being “Find someone to watch your cats.” This document is one of the first impressions you get to make with new talent, so why not have a little fun along the way?


4. Add a glossary

Maybe your organization is in an industry that talks with an alphabet soup of acronyms. Or maybe your industry is constantly evolving with new terminology. Either way, a glossary would be something that both new and seasoned employees would refer to for clarification throughout their employment. An example is the tech company in Portland, Oregon, that assimilated all of its knowledge in the "Toad Lore" book


5. Ask for feedback

GitLab’s entire business model is centered around open-source coding and they take this belief in transparency to their Team Handbook by welcoming suggestions and questions. Even if your handbook isn’t online for everyone to see, you can still give staff a point of contact to share ideas or concerns with.


Need more guidance on how to update your employee handbook? Our experienced HR Consulting team can help.


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Topics: Blogs, Employees, Human Resources, Original Content

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