Do you know the difference between successful and struggling businesses?
It’s how diligently they work towards employee happiness. When people are happy at the workplace, it reflects in their performance and eventually translates into business growth.
But, keeping your employees happy is not a walk in the park.
You need to look beyond those attractive pay packages, tempting bonuses and push your focus towards creating an utterly seamless journey for your employees.
Are you wondering how to do that?
A self-help employee handbook can be the perfect solution.
It’s the best friend your employees need to get through every thick and thin during their work tenure. From communicating your company’s culture, vibes, and values to explaining your policies and work expectations, an employee handbook does it all.
Read this blog to learn how to create an employee handbook and how it benefits your business.
Why Do You Need an Employee Handbook?
A web-based employee handbook comprises your company’s vision, mission, code of conduct, employee benefits, and much more. It guides employees throughout their journey in your organization and helps them work in a hassle-free way.
Here are some of the major reasons you should have an online employee handbook.
1. It helps you in employee onboarding
New employees need a strong support system for guidance, especially during their initial days in an organization. An employee handbook helps new hires blend into your work environment. It introduces them to the fundamentals of your organization and sets a strong foundation for their journey.
It makes the expectations clear from the day of their joining, familiarizes them with work policies, and makes them feel confident and comfortable in the workplace.
2. Communicates Employee Benefits
Often, employees aren’t aware of the benefits your organization offers. An employee handbook gives a clear picture of the benefits your company provides and the eligibility criteria to avail them.
For instance, it mentions health insurance coverage, paid parental leaves, paid vacations, and various other offerings. The more informed your employees are of their benefits, the happier they will be working with your company.
3. Eliminates Confusion Around Work Policies
An employee handbook clearly communicates important policies around work timings, shifts, compensation, reimbursements, casual and medical leaves, and more. Employees gain a deeper clarity regarding what they can expect from your organization. This keeps the confusion at bay and keeps all your employees on the same page.
4. Imparts Clarity Regarding Roles & Responsibilities
For employees to perform well, they need to have complete clarity about their roles and responsibilities. An employee handbook mentions the Key Responsibility Areas (KRAs) of individuals at different levels. This gives them a defined path to walk on, and they are able to meet their responsibilities better.
For example, even after two or three months of joining, an employee might not be clear on his KRAs due to various reasons. This can create confusion, sway him from his real responsibilities, and ultimately impact his overall performance.
An employee handbook can prevent this from happening. It sets the correct expectations right from the beginning to avoid misunderstandings later.
Besides these, an employee handbook maintains transparency in your organization and helps you brew a beautiful bond with your workforce. It wipes out the ‘he said, she said,’ culture where everyone pretends to know everything about your organization.
Now that you know the benefits of an employee handbook, you might be interested in creating one.
So, without wasting any time, let’s get started.
How to Create an Engaging Employee Handbook for Your Workforce?
An employee handbook can be built easily provided you know the process.
Follow these simple steps and you will have your employee handbook ready in no time.
#1 Get a Feature-Rich Employee Handbook Tool
This is the first and most important step in the process of creating an employee manual.
With a slew of options available online, picking one tool can be a challenge. But, worry not. We’ve got your back.
While making a choice, ensure that the software offers a variety of templates, an online editor for content authoring, the option to import and export files, and an easy publishing system. The tool should also have an enterprise-grade security system that helps you keep critical information confidential.
Besides, it should integrate with third-party software like Google Analytics, Google Translate, Wufoo, and others. Integrations expand the capabilities of a tool and empower it to deliver exceptional performance.
Once you have the software, start the content creation process by picking a suitable template.
#2 Choose an Employee Handbook Template & Kick-Start the Process
Templates provide an ideal starting point for building an employee handbook. Have a structure in mind? Pick a template that best suits your requirements.
It has a predefined structure with a table of contents and placeholders. You simply need to add your company’s logo, brand name, and fill the sections with valuable content.
Give it a unique name that employees can relate to. For instance, you can name it - my friend, The problem solver, or anything that resembles your brand.
Here’s how an employee handbook template looks like.
#3 Craft Meaningful Content
Now, start adding valuable information to your template. There are two ways to do this. You can either write fresh content, or in case you already have content in different files, upload them to the document.
If you are wondering what an employee handbook ideally includes, here are the important sections you shouldn’t miss out.
- Your company’s mission and vision
- Details about your work culture
- Perks and benefits provided to employees
- Roles and responsibilities across hierarchies
- Details about your company’s policies, appraisals, and promotions
- Information about learning and development programs and much more.
Feel free to add more sections to your employee handbook, depending on your requirements. An employee manual is supposed to be comprehensive, so ensure that you cover every valuable information in it.
That doesn’t mean you need to overload the handbook. Summarize complicated topics in one or two sections, and provide ‘read more’ links to direct readers to detailed documents. It’s a great way to keep your employee handbook light and information-rich.
#4 Presentation Is Equally Important
You don’t want your employee handbook to living in obscurity, do you?
You want employees to use it often. To achieve this, it’s essential to give equal focus to its layout and format. No one likes to read a lifeless, content-heavy document. That’s why the handbook should look like an attractive, employee-friendly platform that employees love to use.
Here are a few hacks to help you create an impressive employee handbook -
- Write short, to-the-point paragraphs.
- Write in a tone that reflects your company’s culture.
- Make use of ‘You’ ‘Us’ and ‘We’ in your handbook to create a personal connection with readers.
- Add images and videos at relevant places in the handbook. Visuals are great to grab readers’ attention and explain processes in detail.
- Highlight important information in bold or italics
You can also get a senior leader to write a welcome note and use it at the very beginning of the handbook. This will set the right first impression among employees, and they will be excited to have a tour of your employee handbook.
Keep a unique theme for the handbook, something that employees find interesting.
For instance, Zappos has done a wonderful job of creating a unique employee handbook. Its handbook is more like a comic book - fun, interesting, and easy to understand. The only drawback is that this book is in printed form. Had it been online, Zappos’ employees would have found it more useful.
Online handbooks have an edge over printed ones due to obvious reasons. They can be accessed anytime on any device and enables employees to search and get information quickly.
#5 Simplicity Can Work Wonders - Be as Simple as You Can
Reading your employee handbook shouldn’t be a headache for employees. Write in a language that’s easy to comprehend. The tone should not be too formal or overly friendly. It should be somewhere in between. Choose your words wisely because they can either win your employees or drift them away.
Avoid jargon and complicated concepts. In case you use them, make sure that they are clearly explained then and there.
Tooltips, lightboxes, and popups can help you in this endeavor.
Tooltips are great for providing brief descriptions wherever necessary. This is how a tooltip looks like.
Popup is a small window that pops up to explain a technical term or concept.
Lightboxes work well for providing additional help content. They are interactive and come with a scroll bar effect.
Embed them at places where you feel employees will get stuck or will require additional help. Make sure that employees find your online handbook utterly simple to use.
#6 Publish Error-Free Content
If employees find mistakes in your employee handbook, they will start doubting the accuracy of the information. That will be a big turn-off for your employees. They will rather prefer to get information directly from their managers or HR staff, rather than the employee handbook.
If this happens, it will kill the whole purpose of building an employee handbook.
To prevent this, ensure that the content passes through several reviews before going live. An ideal employee handbook tool enables writers and editors to set article status such as - Draft, In Progress, or Ready for Review. They can even create custom status such as - Please review the second paragraph of the first article, and then tag the person they want to share it with.
This maintains transparency and ensures that content is published only after it has been reviewed by multiple editors.
#7 Analyze Reports & Update
An employee handbook with obsolete content that is no more useful for employees is the last thing you will want.
Your employee handbook is supposed to be updated at all times. If it’s not, it will only create more confusion and misinform employees.
That’s why it’s crucial to assess the effectiveness of your handbook regularly. You can make use of the built-in reports that a powerful employee handbook tool provides. Reports give you a detailed analysis of the articles liked or disliked by employees, keyword searches that don’t deliver accurate results, links that do not provide relevant information, and much more.
Utilize this treasure trove of data to update the existing content and add new sections to your employee handbook. This will keep the handbook fresh even after years.
Watch this video to learn more about reports.
Best Employee Handbook Examples
No matter how big or small an organization is, creating an employee handbook is crucial to keep all your employees on the same page. It’s an effective way to convey your brand values, policies, and work culture to your workforce.
Valve provides an excellent example of an employee handbook. It has created an excellent handbook for its employees. It’s comprehensive, carefully-designed, and provides everything new employees need to work smoothly.
Another striking example is Netflix’s employee handbook. It’s in the form of PDF and reflects the company’s culture brilliantly.
Ready to Create a Stellar Employee Handbook?
Are you abreast with the benefits of an employee handbook and ready to create one for your employees?
If yes, follow the steps mentioned above, and you will have your handbook ready in minutes. First, get yourself a decent employee handbook tool. Once you have that, choose a template and start filling it with useful content.
Add detailed information about your work policies, mission, vision, company culture, employee benefits, and much more. Structure the content and keep it as simple as possible.
Remember that every article in your employee handbook should be reviewed thoroughly before going live. And lastly, keep improving and updating your handbook to turn it into a timeless piece.
1. How many pages should an employee handbook have?
It depends on the number of topics you cover in the handbook and the details you add to each topic. The more your topics and the more detailed the sections, the more will be the pages in your handbook.
2. How much does it cost to create an employee handbook?
This depends on how comprehensive your employee handbook is. It can cost anywhere between $1200 to $4000.
3. How do you end an employee handbook?
You can end the handbook on a positive note, encouraging employees to read all sections thoroughly and ask questions to their respective managers. You can also convey how happy you are to have them in your organization.
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