4 Ways to Make Your Employee Handbook More Effective


Your company’s employee handbook is one of its most important documents. From directly communicating your expectations and requirements to employees to giving staff a blueprint for success, an employee handbook has several goals to achieve.

The primary goal of your employee handbook is to ensure that everyone that’s part of your company or organization, from managers to new hires, is on the same page with regards to conduct, goals and culture.

Sounds challenging, doesn’t it? With the right strategy and techniques, it’s possible for your company to create a fantastic employee handbook. Read on to learn four ways to make your company’s handbook significantly more effective.

1. Keep it simple, straightforward and accessible. 

Many companies make the mistake of making their employee handbooks as dense and comprehensive as possible. This, unfortunately, often means listing rule after rule in dense, challenging language, with little readable content in between.

Your employee handbook needs to clearly establish your rules and expectations, but it also needs to be readable. Dense, complex legal language is far more likely to turn employees away than encourage them to continue reading.

Make sure your employee handbook contains all of the information that employees need to know, but don’t overdo the complexity. Keep it simply, straightforward and accessible and you’ll find it far easier to effectively communicate with your staff.

2. Create a clear code of conduct for employees. 

Does your employee handbook include a code of conduct? Your company’s code of conduct is one of the most important elements of its employee handbook, giving it an in-depth listing of behavioral and ethical expectations for its employees.

Start creating your employee handbook by establishing a clear code of conduct for your employees to follow. Offer detailed information on all relevant aspects of at-work behavior and conduct so that your company’s expectations are clear.

Clear, straightforward communication of your company’s conduct expectations is the key to creating a productive, effective workplace in which every individual has an excellent understanding of what is and isn’t okay.

3. Don’t keep it static – revise and update over time. 

As time goes on and your business grows larger and more successful, you may need to update your employee handbook to cover new expectations, practices and other information.

This means dedicating time to revisiting your employee handbook and making all of the necessary revisions on a frequent basis. Once per year is a great goal to aim for – a schedule that allows your employee handbook to adapt alongside your business.

Updating your employee handbook on a frequent, consistent schedule also makes it easier to incorporate changes to HR regulations and law into your handbook, giving your company the protection it needs against lawsuits and other legal action.

4. Double check everything with your legal department. 

Since your company’s employee handbook is an important document that outlines your conduct and behavior expectations, it needs to comply with all relevant laws that govern your company’s conduct.

Before publishing your employee handbook – or releasing an updated version after making changes to its content – ensure it’s checked in detail by your company’s legal team to make sure it’s compliant with the law.

If your company doesn’t have an in-house legal department, hire a professional to review your employee handbook. Although there are costs associated with getting expert legal advice, they’re small in comparison to the cost of a serious lawsuit.