Your Handbook for Employee Handbooks
In the wild world of workforce compliance, it sometimes seems like all roads lead back to the employee handbook. Want to familiarize yourself a policy? Look it up in the handbook. Not sure how your organization differentiates between employees and contractors? Check the handbook. Looking to hire or fire someone effectively? Use the handbook. Need to communicate a new rule to your workers? Update the handbook.
All this can lend an employee handbook a weighty, almost sacred quality, which in turn leads many of us to think of it as something inherently serious—and dare I say, boring. But a handbook’s operational and legal functions shouldn’t overshadow its role as a tool to develop and codify your organization’s unique voice and culture. A handbook is an opportunity to tell a story, empower your employees, and even put your latent fine art skills to good use.
In an article for NASDAQ, contributor Jim Robinson offers 6 inspiring and novel examples of employee handbooks. From Zappos, which communicates its policies through a comic book, to Nordstrom, which famously boiled its entire handbook down to a single sentence (not exactly true, by the way), Robinson’s list shows how compliance and HR personnel can inject creativity, levity, and humanity into a document most of us take for granted.
“Let’s face it, most employee handbooks are probably best used as a treatment for insomnia, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While some companies stick to the tried and true C.Y.A. model and leave it at that, other companies take a more inspired approach by turning the stodgy employee handbook into a clear articulation of the company’s vision and culture, with a little style and humor thrown in for good measure. Some employee handbooks are so effective, in fact, that they end up serving as a recruiting tool.”
That said, we’re still talking about compliance here. Before you allow your creativity to take the reins, you need to have a clear understanding of what information needs to be included in your handbook. Luckily, we have a helpful checklist on that very topic—and we promise it won’t be boring.