A staff handbook is a useful document containing everything your employees need to know. But it’s also a way to promote your company, so much so that some handbooks have gone on to become well-known recruitment tools. While few businesses might be able to replicate such dizzying success, here are six tips to write an on-brand and engaging staff handbook…
- Be creative with the title
Let’s face it, ‘staff handbook’ is hardly inspiring. It gives the impression there’s a manual to being the perfect employee, but a handbook is more than dress codes and social media policies. Staff will be more engaged if you come up with an inventive name, such as ‘A How-To Guide for Staff’ or ‘Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Embarrassed to Ask’.
- Write for your staff
Steer clear of legal terminology, corporate speak or copying and pasting from Internet templates. Instead, liaise with your marketing department to find out how to write in your company’s brand voice.
Your workforce might also come from different backgrounds so use language that can be understood by all. It’s OK to throw in the odd joke, too, if it’s in keeping with your brand. Use a warm and welcoming tone – remember, this is the first document you’ll give to any new employee.
- Have a mission
Your mission statement encapsulates your business’ goals, so it’s important your employees know what it is. This should be on the front cover or second page and act as a kind of motto for staff.
- Plug the benefits
Are your staff entitled to overtime payments, skills-building and training opportunities, flexible working arrangements, health or childcare benefits, or even discounts? List anything that shows what a rewarding employer you are in its own chapter.
- Tackle the difficult questions
There are some aspects of work that we all find awkward to broach. Ensure your handbook explains everything – from sick pay policies to grievances and redundancy procedures – in a step-by-step and friendly tone. Also, include a full staff list showing who reports to who with photographs of department heads (updating it whenever necessary). This saves a lot of faux pas, making your handbook an invaluable resource!
- Use design concepts
Visuals sell, so use quality images and your brand’s logo and colour scheme alongside bullet points, subheadings and short paragraphs (two to three sentences). Bold, italics and underline can emphasise important words, dates or contacts, while infographics, tables and graphs can make data easier to digest. Electronic versions are simpler to update, but presenting a hard copy to a new employee means they’re more likely to read it.
Getting your staff handbook right can be the key to making your employees feel valued, part of the team and willing to give it their all. We help businesses with all aspects of HR, so if you need advice, contact us at Mango HR today.