Five Suggestions for Improving Employee Handbooks

by Michael Haberman on April 27, 2012 · 0 comments


Five suggestions for improving your employee handbooks.

Could you use five suggestions for improving your employee handbook? I write employee handbooks. Well actually I more often revise employee handbooks. But I do have a template that I have developed and adapted over the years. Lately I have thought that my version is beginning to sound a bit too much “legalistic.” And as much as I like lawyers it really doesn’t make for the most readable document. So I have been thinking of revising what I use and trying to make it more reader friendly.

I ran across this TED talk video that brought home the idea of revising my handbook.



After watching that video I ran across an excerpt from an E-book written by Joseph Watson. He suggested the following:

      • Avoid unneeded words. Be critical of your own writing and make every word pull its own weight.
      • Be mindful of your audience. You don’t want to “dumb down” your handbook to a highly educated audience, but you don’t want to talk over the head of employees either.
      • Put action into your words. Too much business writing is written in a passive voice.
      • Write to express and not to impress. Write like you talk.
      • Try to tie into your readers experiences.

 As a bonus last suggestion  try to use a friendly tone. Although it may be important to remind people they are “at-will” (after all the lawyers say we do) we don’t have to pound it in every third paragraph.

Hope these help.

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