Employee handbook is a written outline of a company’s policies and employee’s rights. It lays out the legal obligations of the company to its employees and also gives them an overall look at the company culture and expectations. Trave Harmon, CEO at Triton Computer Corporation, told GenesisHR that a handbook is essential for defining the policies on how employees should interact with the corporation because adjustments to behaviour, expectation and methodology cannot be inconsistent.
At this point, most of us would agree that an employee handbook is important. The truth is, unfortunately, most employees never read it. GuideSpark research revealed that nearly half of respondents do not read the majority of their employee handbook, while 11 percent have not even opened it. Among reasons why most employees do not read their handbook are because it is difficult to read, filled with technical terms and is very boring to an average reader. In conclusion, an employee handbook is simply not interesting to read for most people.
Given that an employee handbook contains crucial information for employees to gain insights into their company, it is advisable for HR department to create a handbook that will actually grab employee’s attention and is readable for every employee in the organisation.
How to create one? Here are some tips for you.
Majority of people would prefer seeing something attractive like a graphic or cartoon instead of plain words. Besides, pictures can retain better in individuals’ brains than plain text. According to 3M, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster and almost all respondents (94 percent) are more interested in pictures than text. Therefore, move from the old template and be creative with the handbook without losing touch of its critical information.
Employees would directly go to the table of contents to find the exact information they are looking for. But when they see the content is too long and too technical to read, they will likely give up reading and ask HR instead for the information, which could add more tasks for HR. That being said, giving a summary at the beginning of a subchapter will help employees to get the raw idea of what is actually covered in the chapter. Make sure the summary contains all the necessary information, if not direct employees to the pages where detailed information can be found, thus employees can save time searching a pile of text.
As mentioned earlier, employees do not want to read their handbook because it is too technical. Therefore, it is best for HR to avoid technical terms. If there is no word that is suitable to replace the technical terms, create an illustration or study case for it. This way, employees can understand the meaning better.