Employee handbooks have never exactly made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. Many businesses and employers view handbooks as an efficient way to succinctly get new hires up to speed on policies and procedures. The problem is that a twelve page treatise on different types of leave, while important to know, can come across as dry and even a little boring. People are not only more likely to read material that engages them but are also more likely to retain it. You don’t need to write a manual that rivals the latest Stephen King novel, but if you want to create a manual your employees will actually read, then your best bet is to communicate the material in a dynamic manner. Here are three tips to creating an employee handbook your employees will actually read.
- Start with a better title: Chances are good that if this article had been entitled “employee handbook article,” you probably would not have read it. First impressions matter, as do titles. Instead of calling your employee handbook an employee handbook, consider calling it something like “Our How-To Book”.
- Presentation is key: You could just run off a bunch of pages and slap them in a 3-ring binder and call it good. Alternatively, you could make your handbook look like something that actually matters to you. Whether you have it professionally illustrated, bound like an actual book, or present it tied up in a bow as part of a “welcome to our organization” gift, how you present your employee manual can go a long way towards determining how much it is valued by employees.
- Play around with the tone: Try and match the tone of your handbook to your branding. Branding is essentially the type of person your business would be if your business were a person. Think of the adjectives that best describe your brand and then create a manual that embodies or exemplifies those same adjectives.