Crafting an employee handbook can be challenging. The best ones make life easier for employees, managers and HR. They are filled with important details about employee benefits, policies and your company history, and are written in an easy-to-understand (and easily accessible) format.
And yet, studies show that only 49 percent of employees in mid-sized businesses understand their HR policies well. To help you make your employee handbook the best it can be, we’ve assembled four do’s (and four don’ts) and some HR giveaways that will help get all your employees on the same page.
Make the handbook user-friendly
Use a conversational tone and avoid jargon to make your book easy to understand. Keeping it well organized will also prevent confusion (PDF).
Ask for employee input
You have experts on your staff, so make use of them. For example, if your company has rules about technology use, have your IT team look over that section of your handbook. Have a small employee team read over the entire document to check for grammatical errors and clarity. Thank your handbook team with some employee giveaways like a back scratcher or touch screen gloves and a note that says, “Thanks for lending a hand.”
Make it far-reaching
Different countries, different provinces and even different departments have different laws and policies. Make certain your handbook accurately reflects your diverse employee base.
Have your legal department review
The Canada Labour Code has very specific rules about minimum standards that are carefully worded. Having your legal team look over your handbook to make sure your language aligns with the standards before handing it out can prevent complications later.
Forget to update your handbook
Only 18 percent of companies update their employee handbook every year. Your handbook should be checked at least once a year to stay up to date on policy changes.
Be overly specific about policies
Items like disciplinary actions and employee benefits need to have at least some wiggle room (PDF) for managerial discretion.
Forget to collect acknowledgement signatures
Whether you pass out your handbooks in person or post policies online, be certain employees have read the handbook. As a thank you for turning in the signature, offer staff a fun HR giveaway. Give new employees a polo shirt or a desk caddy as you welcome them to the team. Give others an employee giveaway like a document bag (PDF) where they can store key work documents.
Hide your handbook
If your handbook is available via an intranet, make it easy to find. And regardless of its location, make sure it contains information about who to contact if there are questions.
Understanding makes comfortable employees
With the help of these tips and HR giveaways, your staff will never have to read between the lines to understand your employee handbook.