Your employee handbook is more than just a “necessary evil” imposed on you by your legal department. It can be a powerful tool for workplace success. Recent research has shown that 22 percent of staff turnover occurs within 45 days of employment. If new hires feel lost, they need strong support and clarification to understand their work, and your well-designed handbook fits the bill. In addition, it can be a valuable resource for your veteran employees in cases where policies, procedures or benefits come into question.
How to Make Your Handbook Effective
It’s not enough to simply have an employee handbook. The secret it its success lies in how well and how consistently you use it.
- Management behavior must clearly support handbook content. Leadership team decisions must reflect what you’ve published and be consistent across the organization.
- Your handbook should empower employees to succeed. Its primary focus should be to ensure fair, consistent treatment of every member of your workforce and support of relevant desired behaviors – not just to enforce rules or punish non-compliance.
- Language should be conversational, direct and written at an appropriate level for the majority of your employees. Neither tone nor style should be legalistic, overly technical or full of acronyms. Content should portray employees as valued and respected team members, not just commodities or order takers. Include a welcome letter that is warm, worker-centric and signed by your president or CEO.
- Focus on outcomes. Use your handbook to paint a picture of desired results, then give examples of how to achieve them. Provide standards and expectations and let employees know how outcomes will be judged.
- Illustrate your company culture. Your employee handbook should be representative of the daily work experience at your organization. It should give every new hire a good sense of what you are as a company, as soon as they walk in the door.
- Keep it genuine. People can see through the diatribe of a slick but substance-lacking publication.
The Value of a Good Handbook
Your well-written handbook serves as written documentation of company policies and procedures. It helps you hold employees accountable for their conduct and sets the stage if you should need to defend your business from potential liability.
Use these questions to assess the extent to which you use your employee handbook as a tool for success:
- How often do you train managers and supervisors on the stated policies and procedures? How proficient are they in answering questions about information in your handbook?
- Do you schedule periodic reviews of your handbook to ensure it continues to meet organizational needs?
- How often and how well do you communicate policies and procedures to your workforce?
The workforce development experts at PrideStaff Fresno can assist as you develop the tools you need to build and maintain an industry-leading team. Contact us today so we can familiarize you with our staff, our resources and our custom-designed services to achieve your ongoing strategic business goals