Welcome and integrate new employees with your employee handbook
The first day at the office is often synonymous with reading the employee handbook. A must for welcoming and integrating new recruits, this document, in its traditional form, often boils down to rather austere and frankly boring legal texts.
Code of conduct? Mission statement? Employee benefits? What is an employee handbook and what does it include.
An employee handbook is a valuable tool that enables businesses to establish clear guidelines and expectations for their staff. It’s a comprehensive resource that outlines company policies, procedures and protocols, providing employers with a structured framework for communicating essential information to their employees. From outlining the organization’s mission and core values to detailing employment policies, the employee handbook is crucial in promoting consistency and ensuring a unified approach within the company. In addition, it serves as a reference point for employers to convey important legal obligations, such as compliance with employment legislation and regulations. By providing a comprehensive, well-designed employee handbook, employers can effectively communicate their vision, foster a positive working environment and align their staff with common goals and values.
Why have an employee handbook?
If specific policies must be spelled out, who says you can’t turn your handbook into a tool that supports your employer brand? It’s the first corporate document your new talent will read, so you might as well make it a striking read, confirming that they’ve made the right choice! A well-thought-out, well-written handbook can also enhance your employer brand through its contents, and instill a sense of loyalty among your recruits, new or otherwise.
How to write an original employee handbook: 6 pro tips
Now that we’ve established the whys and wherefores, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty! Here are a few ways to move away from the austere traditional guide mentioned above.
Go online (or a really nice PDF)
Entering the digital age comes with its own set of advantages. Easier to update and gentler on the environment (and printing costs), your manual has the potential to be far more dynamic. You can, of course, opt for a PDF, but several free, easy-to-use tools can help you create a guide that stands out from the crowd. For example, we like manuals created on Trello, a collaborative platform that lets you integrate photos, hyperlinks, text and documents. In this form, a hard copy won’t gather dust at the bottom of a drawer; instead, your manual will become a platform for transmitting knowledge that can evolve over time.
Adopt a tone that suits you
The good news is that many businesses stick to the bare minimum or duplicate standard employee manual templates. So it’s pretty easy to stand out from the crowd! If specific legal policies are to be kept as they are, there’s nothing to stop you from adding an introduction or other sections that reflect your personality and core values. You can even use humour if your employer brand fits in with this register. Making reading fun will encourage people to embrace your culture from day one. And as you know, an engaged employee = a healthy employer brand!
Introduce your company
The first few days in a new company can be confusing. It’s challenging to write down and memorize all the information you receive. Your employee handbook can combine all the essential information needed to understand how your company works. To help new recruits adapt quickly, include an organization chart of your teams and concisely present your offers. Also, have a section on your values, mission and history so your new talent can quickly grasp your corporate culture.
Give useful tips
Can we include something other than rules of conduct in an employee handbook? The answer is yes! Make it a practical tool by adding seemingly insignificant but oh-so-important tips, for example. Offer a guide on using your ultra-sophisticated coffee machine or the secret techniques for restarting your printer. Add a list of your team’s favourite restaurants for dinner, the location of pen and stapler inventories – anything that might ease the first days in a new professional world. In addition to promoting a light, relaxed tone, these headings will add a new dimension to your manual. It will become a toolkit that will accompany your employees throughout their integration.
Create an employee handbook that is genuinely designed for the employee. Think of it as a survival guide for your company.
Show what makes your team unique
Integrating into a new team is always challenging. Especially if you’re a close-knit group! Why not add to your employee handbook an overview of the things that bring you together ? Do your employees like to get together to play board games? Has your field hockey team made a name for itself in the amateur leagues? Can you illustrate each core value with an actual example that happened at work? Remember to communicate the little extras that make you unique. Because beyond stimulating professional challenges, your talents are also looking for a human adventure. Offer a section that reflects the group’s soul, and include photos of those moments that endear your company to them.
Don’t neglect the layout
Like any other marketing tool, your employee handbook must be designed to catch the eye. A playful look that includes photos, illustrations and your corporate colours will help make the experience more enjoyable.
Developing a practical employee handbook is essential in building a cohesive, well-informed workforce. By following these 6 tips, you can ensure that your handbook is a useful resource, providing employees with the information they need to thrive within your organization. A well-designed handbook paves the way for a productive and harmonious working environment, from clearly outlining company policies to promoting a positive work culture. So, let’s look at the essential elements of the perfect handbook, so your employees have the knowledge they need to succeed.
Checklist for the best employee handbook template
- Welcome message and introduction
- Mission, vision and values statements
- Your various policies in place
- Your code of conduct/labour code
- Your company’s job classification
- Work schedules and overtime policy
- Compensation and benefits
- Leave policy
- Performance expectations
- Other important information relating to your business: This section may concern technology and data use, confidentiality and intellectual property, or occupational health and safety.
- Acknowledgement of receipt, where employees can sign and acknowledge that they have received and understood your employee handbook.
Who has the best employee handbook? Here are some examples of inspiring ones
Would you like to impress your new team members? Creating marketing tools that are as interesting as they are relevant – that’s what we’re all about! Give us a call to give your employee handbook a makeover.