Other than to make mandatory updates, when was the last time you thought about your employee handbook? As the backbone of your organizational structure, your handbook should be a compilation of the policies, procedures, and expectations that guide your employees’ behavior. A well-crafted one could not only protect you from litigation, it should be clear, well-written, and reflective of your company culture.
According to a recent survey conducted by Guidespark, an employee communication firm, 43 percent of Millennials revealed they haven’t read most of their employee handbook, and 36 percent claimed they didn’t know where their handbook was.
The future of the employee handbook
There appears to be a trend emerging that will turn this statistic around. Do a little research and you’ll discover a slew of creative, more engaging handbooks available online— from the inspirational Zaarly, to the highly-interactive Motley Fool.
Zappos, the online retailer produced what they call “Zap” that looks more like a graphic novel than a manual of the past. By putting together a committee they succeeded in creating a handbook that’s fun, quirky, and reader-friendly since it is “made by employees for employees.”
With a little creativity, you too can produce a handbook worthy of the must-read list.
Do not overlook compliancy
Before you can consider adding flair to your handbook, your first priority must be to ensure that it is in accordance and up-to-date with all employment laws. Overall, there should be nothing in your handbook that is ambiguous and up for misinterpretation. All employees should receive the same information along with a consistent message from management. Outsourcing this task to a vendor that provides access to real-time updates of state and federal policies can be a life saver.
With compliancy out of the way, you can focus on having your handbook support your overall business goals. You should strive for a handbook that showcases your employer brand and serves as a tool for recruitment.
Weave your culture throughout
The key to a compelling handbook is one that communicates what life is like at your organization, or your company culture. Company culture can easily be defined as an organization’s personality. It encompasses the mission, values, ethics, expectations, benefits, and goals of the company. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors. It is partly predetermined and defined by management, and partly something that evolves naturally over time.
If you don’t have a clearly defined culture, it’s best to take a step back to assess it.
That’s what we did at Balance Point. We recently implemented our own culture survey for the purpose of “providing an environment that sets our employees up for success,” wrote co-founder Pete Luciano in his email to the staff. “Before we can look to the future, we need to examine the present.”
Employees were encouraged to openly and honestly answer a series of questions designed to gauge their level of satisfaction, dedication to the company, and perceived culture.
- What three words would you use to describe our culture?
- What three words would you use to describe someone who works here?
- What differentiates us from our competitors?
- What key values help our company thrive and should never change?
- If you were approached by a recruiter, what reasons would you give for wanting to stay here?
- What makes you most proud of our company?
- Would you recommend a friend to work here?
- What has been your greatest personal accomplishment while working here to date
By examining the information gathered, you’re on your way to creating a handbook that truly reflects your company’s unique culture. Your handbook has the potential to be much more than a compliancy guide outlining the rules and policies governing your workplace, it can an engaging page-turner that delights your employees.
Balance Point is proud to offer BPHR, ensuring HR compliance and helping you focus on long-term success. We’ll ensure your employee handbook is not only compliant, but reflects your company culture and provides insight into your organization’s goals and principles.
And that’s just one of many advantages!
With BPHR, a HR Generalist fully integrates into your organization to ensure you are taking full advantage of services available to you.
To learn more about BPHR, click here.