Why Your Employee Handbook Template is Terrible

Why Your Employee Handbook Template is Terrible

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employee handbook - header

Introducing new insurance policies to make sure a safe and productive office is sensible on all sides.

Sadly, in case your staff don’t find out about your insurance policies, it gained’t do a rattling factor to unravel your organization’s issues. In different phrases, in case your worker handbook doesn’t get read, you’re recent out of luck.

There are two methods to all however assure your staff won't ever learn your worker handbook.

  • Use a cut-and-paste worker handbook template
  • By no means write one within the first place

Consider the copy-and-paste template because the cookie cutter cold emails all of us like to hate – there’s no feeling of an individual behind it, so we tune out, ignore it, and get on with our day.

In contrast to chilly emails, nevertheless, in case your staff ignore your handbook they’re inevitably going to fall sufferer to a rule they didn’t find out about.

Positive, you’re nonetheless coated for the aftermath (so long as it was within the handbook to start with), however if you wish to forestall these pricey blunders from occurring your worker handbook must be fascinating and interesting.

employee handbook

In any case, wouldn’t you slightly learn a doc that talks to you as an individual, relatively than one other cog in some cruel company machine?

Why create an worker handbook?

Worker handbooks are a good way to get your staff on top of things with every part about your organization.

Whether or not they’re an present staff member who’s not sure about your core business processes or a brand new rent who must be briefed on how to prioritize tasks in line with your organization values, that is the doc that’s going to provide them the inspiration to flourish while working with you.

Consider it as onboarding an employee to the corporate itself – you’ve acquired your common course of for introducing them to the remainder of the group, syncing up and automating their workflows, and constructing relations with a collaborative remote culture, however the handbook is there to offer the naked bones of what they should know.

employee handbook - dilbert

Every handbook goes to differ relying on the corporate, the place they’re based mostly, what they worth, and the picture they need to current, however there are parts which have to be utilized to all.

What to incorporate within the worker handbook

The trick with creating an worker handbook is making a doc (or bodily ebook) which covers the fundamentals however is fascinating sufficient to maintain your group’s consideration.

A uninteresting handbook is ineffective as a result of no-one will learn it.

Having stated that, the fundamentals that the majority handbooks ought to cowl are:

  • Firm values and mission
  • Worker advantages
  • Depart coverage
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and battle of curiosity statements
  • Anti-discrimination insurance policies
  • Compensation insurance policies
  • Work schedules
  • Requirements of conduct
  • Basic employment info
  • Security and safety insurance policies
  • Computer systems and use of know-how
  • Media relations
  • A signature web page for the worker

Once more, a few of these (corresponding to NDAs) will range relying on the business you're employed in, the corporate you're employed for, and even the place your organization is predicated. There’s additionally a number of specifics that you simply want to remember.

Firm values and mission

The very first thing you need to do is about out your organization values – that's, what the corporate as an entire is concentrated on attaining/offering. This each units the tone for the remainder of the doc and helps you as the author maintain these core beliefs in thoughts when working by way of the remainder of the e-book.

employee handbook - facebook maybe

Don’t begin waxing lyrical. This isn’t the place to show how nice your organization is. Right here you have to be saying what your organization stands for, what it’s aiming to realize, and the way it’ll go about getting there at a excessive degree.

Worker advantages

Right here you must define the advantages you present to your staff resembling medical insurance and retirement plans. You also needs to embrace the eligibility necessities for these advantages (eg, when the retirement plan kicks in).

The important thing with the advantages part is together with it early, slightly than in the direction of the top. Everybody loves listening to about what they’re going to get out of a state of affairs, and by together with it early you’re setting their expectations as shortly as attainable whereas motivating them to undergo the remainder of the handbook.

Depart coverage

Your depart coverage must cowl each your personal private allowances and people required by regulation. This implies detailing allotted vacation, maternity, bereavement and sick depart, together with time without work for courtroom instances, jury obligation and voting.

Once more, you need to lay this out as shortly as attainable in order that your staff know what to anticipate, and what area they should work with.

NDAs and conflicts of curiosity statements

Right here’s the place the nitty-gritty particulars of the handbook start, and the primary name to order is defending your organization’s delicate info.

employee handbook - start nda

Lay out any NDAs or battle of curiosity statements that are vital for the worker to learn and comply with. Don’t waffle on with legalistic jargon for those who can keep away from it both – too jargonistic and the reader will tune out, which means each that they do not know what they’re agreeing to, and what secrets and techniques they shouldn’t be telling.

In the event you really feel the necessity for formal, convoluted language to cowl potential loopholes, contemplate additionally offering a primary abstract of the settlement (while advising them to learn the entire thing). That means the worker is assured to know the settlement – it’s higher to stop secrets and techniques leaking in plain English than to only cowl your again with a authorized doc the no-one understands.

employee handbook - end nda

Anti-discrimination coverage

That is a simple one – you should lay out that discrimination of any variety won't be tolerated, together with spiritual, racial, sexist, and disability-based discrimination.

Consider it as each defending your present workforce from discrimination towards new staff, but in addition assuring your rent that this can be a firm which won't tolerate discrimination.


Your compensation part ought to embrace all the things not coated in your advantages and depart coverage.

That's, particulars of any tax reductions, salaries (and wage will increase), pay schedules, additional time pay, breaks, bonuses, and so forth.

Work schedules

One other self-explanatory part, your work schedules ought to inform your worker simply that; their anticipated work hours, attendance, punctuality, and any tips for versatile hours.

For instance, at Process Street all of us work remotely, and so have to have set occasions to sync up and talk. Subsequently, in our work schedules handbook part, we lay out the occasions that our whole group hops on Zoom to have a gathering, and the anticipated variety of hours to work every week.

employee handbook - team calls

Having stated that, we’re additionally extra goal-based than strict time schedules, so if somebody must take a time off they will work round that. For instance, I lately took a Wednesday off work to journey to Latvia and stick with Ben Brandall for a few weeks – I labored on the weekend to make up for it.

Requirements of conduct

Consider this as your “learn how to behave” part. Right here you need to describe any gown code, anticipated ethics, authorized obligations (when it comes to conduct) and the way staff ought to conduct themselves round shoppers, if relevant.

A word on gown code – don’t go full dictator on gadgets like gown size however keep in mind to say any necessary parts such because the prevalence of tattoos and/or piercings, particularly for roles which cope with shoppers. I’m not towards tattoos (I've one myself), however warning is the easiest way to go when addressing a brand new shopper for the primary time.

Basic worker info

One other cleanup part, right here’s the place it is best to go into the varied job classifications, together with the size of probationary durations, termination, resignation, switch, and relocation procedures, together with any union info referring to your staff.

Whereas they need to have already been carried out by the purpose you give them the handbook, you also needs to reiterate any background checks you use.

Security and safety

“Well being and security”, the phrases many like to hate. However, your well being and security procedures (and potential hazards) have to be set in writing, together with the best way to report any incidents which happen, and what safety obligations your staff have.

employee handbook - health and safety got

In case your new rent must lock up a submitting cupboard or a part of the constructing on the finish of the day, that is the place they should study it.

Computer systems and use of know-how

Though it's worthwhile to do some remaining cleanup on the safety measures your staff must make use of (this time with the know-how they use), this part also needs to inform them what the suitable use of the know-how out there is, and easy methods to take precautions with delicate info (corresponding to shopper knowledge).

Media relations

It's worthwhile to current at the very least a semi-consistent entrance to the media (and, actually, any outdoors supply). As such, right here is the place that you must lay out the process for coping with any calls or inquiries.

On the very least you must inform your staff who to contact if they're approached by a media supply in order that it may be handed on and have a constant response delivered.

Worker signature web page

Lastly, it is advisable to have a web page for the worker to signal to formally report that they’ve learn the entire thing and a date for once they accomplished it.

That is partially on your data (to notice when the worker completed the handbook), but in addition to ensure each that they've gone by means of the complete handbook, and that you've some backing within the occasion of issues arising.

In any case, in case your rent complains that they weren’t advised about your gown code, for instance, you have got written proof to show in any other case.

Nice worker handbook examples

The important thing to success when creating an worker handbook isn’t simply masking all the factors above – it’s about capturing the essence of your organization and bridging the hole between your new rent and your present tradition.

Some nice examples of this are:

  • Valve
  • Metallic Toad
  • Netflix
  • Fb
  • Hacking Inc.


employee handbook - valve pics

Valve is an odd firm, in that it permits its staff to work on no matter takes their fancy. Not solely that, however they goal to have a “flat” firm hierarchy to be able to make sure that no-one might be excluded, and no-one has final energy over one other when it comes to a decision-making course of.

This may sound like utter chaos, however within the years since forming in 1996 they’ve produced not solely a few of the most influential and long-lasting video games of all time, however have succeeded in releasing the preferred gaming platform and marketplace on PC.

By the way, their handbook is an excellent instance of easy methods to convey the corporate’s tradition in addition to the essential firm construction and advantages, filled with humor and illustrations to make it something however a dry learn.

See Valve’s employee handbook here

Metallic Toad

employee handbook - metal toad toad lore

Metallic Toad, in the meantime, have taken a storybook approach to their worker handbook “Toad Lore”. Stemming from Tim Winner (now the Senior Vice President)’s want to reply the questions that their staff *actually* needed to have answered, they went one step additional than even Valve and made a leather-bound guide to finish the picture.

Full with charming photographs and Tolkien-style maps, Metallic Toad’s handbook serves as an enthralling and above all partaking introduction to the corporate.

See Metal Toad’s employee handbook here


employee handbook - netflix slideshare

Netflix has a bit extra of a standard worker handbook within the type of a 124-page Slideshare. It doesn’t deal with itself as a storybook, however as an alternative covers the fundamentals a handbook ought to with out spending the time to wax lyrical.

It will get the job executed, and in a extremely accessible and interesting format (very similar to Netflix itself).

See Netflix’s employee handbook here


employee handbook - facebook handbook

With an organization as giant as Fb, you’d assume creating a brief, encompassing handbook can be subsequent to unimaginable.

Ben Barry (a designer for Fb) says as a lot when speaking about his time with the social behemoth – through the years, the corporate’s mission, historical past, and tradition had grow to be murky past sight to any and each new worker, as a result of a lot of it had been mentioned in conferences or over FB chat or e-mail threads.

“Those that had been current on the time had context, however for brand spanking new staff that info was troublesome to seek out, even in the event you knew what you have been in search of.” – Ben Barry

The answer? An enthralling little pink e-book with daring colours and minimal textual content, designed to onboard staff into the tradition of an in any other case sprawling empire.

See Facebook’s employee handbook here

Hacking Inc.

employee handbook - hacking inc

Though a fictional creation of Hewlett Packard, Hacking Inc’s worker handbook is one other nice instance of how a handbook can be utilized successfully.

The doc is full of gifs, interactive graphs, tongue-in-cheek nods to HP “thwarting” their makes an attempt to hack the world, and extra.

See Hacking Inc.’s employee handbook here

Create your personal worker handbook

So, you understand what to incorporate and learn how to hold the handbook partaking. Now it’s time to write down (/replace) your personal.

Regardless of bashing them earlier, copy-and-paste handbook turbines aren’t horrible for getting an concept of the type of authorized points you have to cowl. Take a look at a pair comparable to this one on Formswift and this one from Rocket Lawyer to get your bearings, then begin planning out your personal handbook.

Keep in mind; the important thing with writing a handbook is that it wants to interact the reader whereas onboarding them together with your firm’s tradition. You’re not simply telling somebody what their work schedule and bonuses are – you’re displaying them the mindset that they need to have when going into their first day of labor.

You additionally want to determine the way you need to report your worker handbook. You might create a storybook like Metallic Toad or Fb, a Slideshare like Netflix, or a PDF akin to Valve’s, however there’s one other solution to make the handbook itself actionable and interesting – through the use of Course of Road.

By recording your worker handbook as a template in Course of Road you'll be able to assign it to the worker who must learn it, have them tick off every process (part) as they go, and even insert type fields to allow them to put in their very own info or information (comparable to a signed doc).

Don’t simply take my phrase for it both – Boomtown (one in every of our clients) have made their very own worker handbook into a part of their Agent Onboarding checklist.

I’d like to know what you’re doing to make your worker handbooks partaking within the feedback under!