3 Rules for Rethinking the Old Employee Handbook

Aug 16, 2013 Posted by

Employee handbooks — beloved by human resources, belittled by employees — are finally getting a makeover. Companies like Netflix and Zappos have grabbed headlines with compelling “culture decks” that focus on perks and personality and less on rules and red tape. But is there a happy middle ground, asks Charles Coy of Cornerstone OnDemand, where companies can impress employees with humor but also relay the importance of serious issues like discrimination, fraud and the proper use of social media?

Absolutely, says Michael Molina, chief human resources officer at San Diego-based Vistage International. “You can have a great work culture and still have an employee handbook.” Here’s how Molina says companies can strike the right balance between compliance and culture when creating (or simply updating) an employee handbook:

Be Authentic: Describe the Real Company Culture

Employees, even new employees, can spot insincerity. “The handbook needs to be representative of the daily experience,” Molina says. “You can tell them whatever you want in the handbook, but an employee smells the actual experience out very quickly.”

Don’t Downplay Policy and Procedure

Company rules, policies and procedures may not make for the most exciting new hire presentation, but they’re there to protect both the employer and the employee. “It’s a gimmick to say you don’t have a handbook,” Molina says. “There are rules that you have to have in a company and they should be available to the employee.”

Keep it Engaging

A handbook should reflect the company’s values and set a new employee up for success, explains Molina, “I don’t think a handbook replaces what you do day in and day out. I want new hires to feel as though they’re coming to a place that is engaging and where the culture fits the company’s values through the spirit of the right leadership and right energy.”

Read more at the Cornerstone OnDemand Blog.