Time Tracking Without Employees Feeling Micromanaged
Company CultureHR Tools

It can be challenging finding a balance between tracking employee time and giving staff members complete time management autonomy. On the one hand, tracking and scrutinizing employee time can make staff feel policed. On the other hand, daily time tracking can decrease productivity leaks by 80%. Fortunately, there is a middle ground. To help you out, we’ve put together four things you can do when beginning a time tracking program to prevent your employees from feeling micromanaged.

1. Explain the Value of Time Tracking

It’s easy to tell your team members to track their time. However, it’s extremely challenging to get employees on board and motivate them to carefully track their tasks every day. Your employees may say that time tracking is tiresome, reduces productivity, and is inconvenient. Hence, the primary concerns you need to address are the emotional issues. Without clear communication, employees may believe that time tracking is a way to impose management’s unrealistic goals and high expectations, which can result in a lot of fear, stress, and anxiety.

Upper management can combat the fears related to time tracking by communicating the value it brings. Begin by explaining the reasons behind the time tracking tool and why it’s essential. For example, if your organization is charging clients by the hour, you need to explain how productivity while clocked in, is vital to the company’s success. Or if you have projects billed at a fixed price, you can tell your employees how your company’s profit margins work. It’s a great way to introduce the cost of productivity leaks to your organization and how you can work together to reduce time-consuming, mundane work. You can take it a step further by showing employees that your own time will be tracked as well, emphasizing that it will be a tool for awareness rather than enforcement.

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2. Onboard Your Team

As business consultant Dan Steiner explains, writing for the Huffington Post, “If you do decide to bring time tracking into the workplace, it’s important to take the right approach to avoid upsetting your employees.” 

The first communication to employees about your planned time tracking system plays a critical role in setting the tone. To begin, consider calling a general team meeting to introduce the time tracking tool. 

In the meeting, you can explain why it’s necessary to track time and communicate its benefits. For example, since 80% of workplace interruptions have little or no value, you can go into detail about how it will help in reducing interruptions and unnecessary tasks at work. 

It’s also an excellent opportunity to explain how your organization leverages the data it collects, emphasizing that you won’t scrutinize employees’ time and micromanage everyone’s work schedule.

Finally, explain the other tools that will become available along with the time tracking features of the system that will make life easier for employees. For example, explain how the system will save them time by automatically calculating their timecards for payroll, and how it will make it easier for them to request and track paid time off.

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During the onboarding process, you should also include a demo. By going through the step-by-step instructions to install and use the time tracker, everyone can understand how it works, and how they can implement time tracking into their daily schedules. The meeting and demo will allow everyone to get on the same page, ask any questions, and ensure that your team is on board.

3. Make it Easy and Convenient 

Don’t expect team members to begin adopting time tracking immediately. Employees need to try it out before it can become a daily habit. You want to make the process as easy as possible. After introducing the time tracking tool and having employees try it out, integrate the tool into your team’s workflow.

You can start by encouraging your team members to track their time using the device they use the most. For example, for software developers, since they’re often on their desktop computer, you can recommend a time tracking desktop app. Sales teams, who are often on the go, meeting with clients, can track their activities via a mobile app. As for creative team members who are always on-site but may not be at their desk, they can track their activities on their iPads.

4. Offer Rewards and Create a Positive Experience

While it’s easy to create harsh consequences for those who don’t track their time, it’s more effective if you introduce the time tracking tool as a new positive experience for the team. Motivate and encourage your team to recognize the benefits of time tracking on an individual, group, and organizational level.

A great way to create a positive experience is to gamify the experience. Help people help themselves. Ensure each team member sets personal goals around focus, procrastination, and eliminating distractions. Along with personal achievements, you can also implement a reward system for your whole organization. For example, if in the first week everyone uses the time tracker at least once a day, the team is rewarded with a small company outing. These outings can include a happy hour after work, an office party, or a company lunch at an up-and-coming cafe in town.

If there’s a standout performer, you should also recognize them for their efforts. David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom at Forbes noted that “Recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce great work.” 

It’s important to make sure employees don’t associate time tracking with a negative experience. Don’t punish people or publicly shame them through email or in-person if they forget to time track or do it incorrectly. Negative reinforcement will breed frustration and resentment.

If you want to introduce a time tracking tool to your organization without resistance or stress, make sure you follow the four tips above. Explain the importance and purpose of the tracking tool, onboard every team member, make it easy and convenient, and create a positive experience by offering rewards and recognition when team members perform well. This will help you set a course that will ensure you win over your team’s trust before moving forward. 

If you found this article useful, please share it with your social network!

Author Bio

Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an online employee time tracking app that helps over 8,000 companies all around the world track time. 

Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many peoples lives are touched and changed for the better. 

When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys spending time with family, friends and finding ways to make the world just a little better. You can find Dean on LinkedIn.

Employee Engagement Programs
Company Culture

Let’s not beat around the bush here: there are few things more important in the workplace today than employee engagement. Why? When organisations have effective employee engagement programs, they report higher levels of productivity and an increase to their bottom line.

Not only that, a work environment where employees feel engaged results in better retention rates. Put simply, it becomes far easier to hold onto your top talent.

Engagement: What it is and what it isn’t

A few misconceptions exist around the idea of employee engagement. Most notably, “engagement” often gets confused with “job satisfaction”. But they are not the same things.

All staff who are engaged will be satisfied with their jobs. However, an employee can still be satisfied but not engaged in a job. A person who isn’t particularly pushed or challenged in their work, but who still picks up a decent salary with a few perks thrown in, won’t modify or improve their performance. 

They don’t need to, so why would they? 

And such employees are unlikely to be adding any real value to an organisation.

Engagement is about much more than a worker simply feeling content in their present position. It’s the extent to which an employee buys into what a company is trying to do, and how personally involved they feel in its success.

Businesses who can develop and sustain an engaged workplace create something greater and more powerful than the sum of all its parts.

The bad news is that you won’t find a perfect ready-made employee engagement program on the internet or off the shelf. It’s vital that your approach is specifically tailored to the individual needs of your organisation and all its nuances.

The good news is that there are a set of key principles to factor into your planning to help you create the ultimate program. Here they are:

A candidate becomes engaged before they become an employee

The recruitment process is where employee engagement truly begins. Yes, even before a candidate becomes an employee. It’s here a company needs to highlight its Employee Value Proposition clearly. Employees are the new customers, after all.

It’s also here that a business has a genuine opportunity to discover whether a candidate is really of the calibre that the organisation needs.

Of course, education, experience and expertise have their place – but qualifications can be studied for and skills can be taught. Attitude and application cannot. People can be trained and taught on the job to do most things – but you cannot change what makes them tick.

Interview questions/tasks that assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are more useful than ones that merely assess a skill set.

Top tip: Look to hire characteristics, behaviours and attitude over skills and experience.

The importance of performance management and setting goals 

Individuals who are empowered are employees that are engaged. This means that it’s vital for staff to have a clear understanding of expectations. Once this clarity is achieved, employees should be allowed to set their own goals. Autonomy is one of the key drivers of human motivation and setting goals in this way inspires commitment and ownership.

Top tip: Have high expectations but encourage goals to be realistic. It’s easy to build on small successes, but it’s far more difficult to build on massive failures or missed targets.

Networking: How to share ideas and insights within an organisation

Never underestimate the value of a well-networked team. When employees have the opportunity to share ideas and exchange insights, the organisation’s whole perspective is broadened. People will feed off the ideas of others and feel inspired.

The culture of the organisation needs to be one of listening as you are speaking. Internal and external networks need to thrive to enable multi-way conversations to take place.

Top tip: Give employees opportunities to network online and offline

Communication and connection are the keys to success

How successfully managers and leaders communicate with staff is the cornerstone of successful employee engagement programs. The best managers know their staff inside-out and understand their personalities and motivations.

But the extent to which managers connect with their teams is often down to their own authenticity and transparency. If staff feel that managers are authentic, it really builds trust and galvanizes a team.

It’s crucial that all managers are seen to be communicating and reinforcing a company’s mission and vision on a day-to-day basis.

Top tip: Managers must walk the talk!

Where do you start with employee engagement?

There is plenty of inspiration to be found from the ways that some of the biggest names in business have engaged their employees. Google, famously, introduced its ‘20% Time’ – essentially an opportunity for employees to devote a day a week working on projects that they thought would most benefit the company.

Similarly, LinkedIn cancels meetings to enable staff to work on individual projects or to attend external training. Employees are also encouraged to pitch ideas to the boardroom.

Successful employee engagement programs tend to think outside the box – but it’s important to recognise that what matters is what is going on in and out of ‘your box’your company.

Whatever initiatives are implemented – or rewards offered – they need to demonstrate that the organisation has its fingers on the pulse of employee needs.

And you should never assume you know what your employees think or want – you need to ask them.

Ultimately though, employee engagement programs are not just about having ideas or a shared vision. Creating the correct conditions and having the right tools in place to execute and apply your program are of fundamental importance too. Only when all these aspects are covered will genuine employee engagement occur.


Sabotaging team culture
Company CultureGuest Post

A successful business is based on a positive team culture, where every member of the company is looking in the same direction. On the flipside, a business can be brought to its knees by a toxic team culture that divides rather than unites. Here are four things that might be sabotaging your company culture today — and how to fix them.

Your hires and fires

The foundation of your team culture is made up of who you hire. When you employ a new recruit, you’re not just adding a new skill set to your team — you’re also introducing new personality traits as well. Your team is made up of people, so you need to make sure that any new members will work seamlessly with your existing team.

But your company culture is also about who you’ve already hired as well. If even a single employee doesn’t gel with the rest of their team, it can create blockages and conflict that will not only impact your work, but your culture as well.

How to fix it

To avoid this, you should hire personalities, not just experience. While a potential recruit’s skills are certainly an important aspect you should consider, it’s equally crucial that you consider who they are as a person. During interviews, don’t just focus on their past experience. Ask them about their hobbies or their extracurricular activities, simply engaging them in natural conversation to gauge who they are as an individual.

It’s also worth reappraising your existing employees to identify any toxic personalities that might be dividing your team. To move forward as a team, everyone has to be moving in the same direction. If someone is pulling away from the pack, then you should take steps to resolving it before it becomes an issue.

Communication breakdown

When a business doesn’t have an open channel of communication, and its direction and internal machinations aren’t publicly disclosed, team members can feel alienated and even paranoid. This can encourage rumours to spread, which in turn can create a highly toxic work culture.

The key to a positive team culture is transparency and openness. But true transparency acknowledges both successes and shortcomings. By publicly communicating with employees how their business is developing, managers can create a single line of communication that informs every member of the team.

How to fix it

To implement this in your own team, hold regular meetings in which you discuss openly and with candor the direction that your business is heading. And while it’s important to highlight where your employees can do better, it’s equally important that you acknowledge your own mistakes as well. This helps to create a safe, democratic environment in which everyone can speak their mind.

As a manager, communication should be your highest priority. If your employees don’t feel like they’re in the know, then the team dynamic will break down, impacting your work culture considerably.

Expecting too much of your team

Even the most exceptional employees can only manage a finite amount during the working day — some people handle workplace pressure better than others, of course, but everyone has a limit. And beyond productivity limitations, you have unavoidable knowledge or comprehension gaps. If you rate your staff as highly-competent, that’s ideal, but don’t expect them to be polymaths ready for anything you throw at them.

As such, if you ask too much of your team — whether pushing them too hard for unrealistic levels of productivity, or tasking them with projects they’re not equipped to handle — it will inevitably lead to employee fatigue and burnout.

And the problems might not stop there, because such situations are often exacerbated by the presence of different expectations for different staff members. If an employee is often asked to stay late, but frequently sees their manager heading home early, it can lead to a build-up of resentment and even detachment from their work.

How to fix it

As a manager, you will naturally be required to ask members of your team to stay late on occasion — extra hours can be necessary for growing businesses. But regularly expecting this from your employees can have a negative impact on their wellbeing, in turn affecting your team culture. To avoid this, set a rule that prohibits using work devices outside of usual business hours. A mandatory switch-off lets your team separate work and home, giving them some vital downtime.

Here are some other general tips you should consider following:

  • Encourage your employees to tell you if they’re getting overwhelmed. Let people know that there’s no shame in feeling swamped and that they needn’t fear for their jobs, then find ways to help them. If necessary, redistribute projects entirely, or arrange collaboration to take the pressure off.
  • Use automation tools where possible. In ideal circumstances, it would be 100% necessary for every piece of work assigned to your team to be handled manually. Eliminate as much work as possible through using automation tools, whether in your security procedures, your design process, your HR, or your general communication.
  • Provide comprehensive training. Software may be more intuitive than ever before, but the digital learning curve hasn’t been eliminated (forget the myth of the plucky entrepreneur shooting to success courtesy of a simple webstore creator and an afternoon of work). Don’t leave your team members to figure everything out themselves — step in to provide training and make sure they learn correctly.
  • Offer additional workplace perks. To raise morale and relieve fatigue, consider introducing regular workplace massages. These are proven to help reduce stress and improve muscle tension and mental wellbeing, in turn enhancing your team culture.

Expanding your business too quickly

When your business expands, it can be easy to focus purely on its expansion rather than on your team. Between focusing on new clients, finding a new office space, and seeking to rapidly bring overheads down, you can end up leaving your employees by the wayside. When a business expands, managers are often required to hire new recruits in bulk. If time isn’t taken to integrate them sufficiently with existing employees, it can create an us-and-them situation that divides your team.

Your employees are the gears that keep your business growing, and it’s important that you spend some time ensuring your team culture is growing along with it.

How to fix it

As your business grows, you should pay attention to how your team is evolving. As new employees join your business, it’s vital that you integrate them seamlessly into your existing team. A good way to do this is through team-building exercises that encourage cooperation and participation.

Many companies shun the usual forms of team-building in favour of more collaborative exercises, tasks that foster a personal investment in their workplace. For example, instead of clichéd corporate retreats, you could encourage a team project. By sharing out the various aspects of the project, you can encourage collaboration in a natural environment that creates a more bonded, positive team culture.

Don’t let your business suffer from a negative company culture. Follow the advice above and create a positive, collaborative team that works both for the business — and for each other.

Kayleigh Alexandra writes for Micro Startups, your source for everything business. From startups to SMEs, Micro Startups is committed to sharing advice, insights, and industry news to entrepreneurs everywhere. Get micro started today and find us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

HR System
Company CultureGuest Post

Pop quiz: does your company provide HR or payroll services or both?

While this question comes across as a very dull and obvious one, it is one that more companies should ask before embarking on their HR transformation journeys. This question is more relevant than ever before as most companies are spending a significant amount of time and money on projects, with the hope to ultimately transform their employee experience (EX).This employee experience is significantly impacted by HR services and systems that employees interact with and while not limited to just HR and payroll, they are a peek into the company culture. It can say a lot about your company, and can tell your employees whether they should expect a compliance based culture or one that empowers a partnership culture and engagement where trust is the true social bond between employees and employers and not just a piece of signed paper.

So what’s the big deal and what does it have to do with HR systems?

HR systems are fast evolving from compliance and transaction based databases to ones that are truly focused on EX. In many companies, HR systems are clustered together and words like HRIS, HRMS or HCMS are used as a bracket term that include payroll, in fact the names have continued to evolve leaving everyone confused. While there is no right or wrong answer as far as naming goes, there is a marked difference between systems that are purely for record and process transactions like payroll versus ones that are truly designed to represent services offered to support the EX ecosystem. Systems like HR Partner focus on HR Services that are expected from the employee lifecycle best demonstrated by the Social Workplace by Elizabeth Lupfer.

While paying people accurately and regularly is a hygiene factor, it is not one that is related to EX directly. Elements of paying people accurately do comprise of transactions like applying for and approving leave and timesheets but the mechanics of payroll systems do not have any direct bearing on the employee’s experience of the digital workplace. This is where separating your HR systems supporting your HR service delivery from payroll systems is crucial. And integrating these systems will significantly enhance the employee experience!

Bringing your HR services to life via a digital and clean system user interface tells the current and future employees that you believe in a partnership culture. The digital HR services will definitely bring to life an easy to navigate and social user interface, ease of accessing advice on recruitment, onboarding, policies, culture and engagement polls, and the more transactional elements like leave and timesheets coupled with electronic signatures and cloud document management.

However, there is a word of warning before starting your next HR systems project, if you haven’t mapped your HR service offerings for now and in future, your new HR systems may just become a reflection of payroll transactions that add no value to your employees or their experiences and engagement. And a reminder, users will not shy away from telling you about their experience, a good interaction with systems like HR Partner can generate positivity, whereas a not so great one will perhaps generate greater publicity!

Ways to de-stress at work
Company CultureEmployee RetentionGuest Post

We’ve all had days at work where we’re stressed. Where we can’t concentrate, and we worry, and our employees and colleagues irritate us and our workstation feels like the worst place to be.

Mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, and many more can have terrible effects on motivation, productivity, and general wellbeing. Mental health problems can also lead to increases in employee absence.

Fortunately, there are many little ways you can relieve some stress, and reset yourself to conquer your next task and feel a little better about yourself while you’re doing it.

1. Deep breathing

Taking some deep breaths while sitting in your chair is quick and free.

Keep your back straight, and inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and feel the air—and your negative feelings—leave your body. Do this for a couple of minutes. Keep each breath slow and steady. Try to focus on each inhalation and exhalation.

You’ll feel calmer as the stress seeps out of you.

2. Consider a less intense dress code

Sometimes we all just want to wear our comfortable clothes and not worry about working in a pristine formal outfit. Introducing a relaxed dress code in your workplace can reduce stress by granting employees the opportunity to express their personalities through what they wear.

Make sure you canvas opinion from all of your staff to review your current dress code, and accumulate ideas for designing a new one. You might want to consider jewellery and tattoos, too. Many employees will appreciate not needing to hide their ink.

Always make sure your dress code does not discriminate against any persons or groups. And ensure that you keep all policies in your company handbook. Whenever you update a policy, email staff so that they know.

3. Exercise

You could hire a fitness trainer to come in and deliver a fitness class to your staff each week—yoga can be particularly re-energising.

But you could also introduce short breaks into your workplace. The afternoon time following lunch but before employees go home can often be the point in the day when productivity drops. Employees start to feel tired, their bellies might be full, and they’re beginning to check the clock more than they did in the morning, often in anticipation of being able to leave.

To combat this, a 10-minute walk outside in the fresh air could help people refocus their minds for the final hours of their day. If they take their walk with a colleague, a little non-work conversation can really help to distract people.

4. Laugh!

It’s difficult to feel angry, sad, anxious, or even jealous during the exact moment you’re laughing. Laughter soothes tension, helps employees form relationships, and it increases the amount of endorphins that your brain releases.

Laughter’s really good. Having a joke book in the office could be a trivial way of accessing some quick quips. Or, if you feel you need a chuckle to deflate your stress balloon, find the most amusing employee in the office and engage them in a quick chat.

5. Time with your employees and colleagues but away from the office

Perhaps your building has a bar, or there’s a local watering hole nearby. Once work finishes, there’s no harm in a beverage (doesn’t even have to be alcoholic) with your colleagues to wind down, talk about your progress and outside matters like sports, hobbies, and more.

You’ll laugh and learn more about the people you work with while you’re at it.

6. Embrace your creativity

Some of us paint, write, play music, draw—some of us do one, all or none of these.

If you’re a creative person, then keep a notepad nearby. A quick two minute doodle or scribbling down an idea for your next story can really help you to take your mind away from stressful work for just a few moments. After a couple of minutes, you’ll feel lighter and ready to tackle your next task.

7. Music and work?

Some employers let their employees put their headphones on and listen to their music while they work. For many people, listening to their favourite tunes or even a podcast can help them drown out the distractions of workplace chatter and ringing telephones.

Of course, certain employees simply won’t have the opportunity to put their headphones on and block out the world—so perhaps some speakers in the office quietly playing some ambient music instead?

8. Reading

It’s tempting to spend your lunch period replying to text messages and checking the latest news—but you’re surrendering to more screen time.

Get yourself a book. Fiction, a self-help book, a biography, whatever takes your fancy, and aim to read at least five pages while on your lunch break.

You’ll be focusing so much on the escape of another person’s world that you won’t even remember being stressed. And who knows, you might enhance your vocabulary while you’re at it!

9. Ensure you have a healthy lunch

An intense workload is going to cause stress, and clotting your body with unhealthy, sugary food might seem like great instant gratification. However, most jobs provoke a sedentary lifestyle, and a healthy diet will help you keep your weight down, your skin feeling clear, and even promote hair growth.

Not to mention, preparing a healthy lunch can be an exciting activity the night before! Many people find themselves stepping into cooking for the first time when they’re making tomorrow’s lunch.

10. Plan your day

It’s easy to jump from one task to another and make progress without actually completing anything. Create a to-do list every morning, or the night before if you think it’d work better for you, and list the tasks you need to get done during your next shift.

Make a list of realistic tasks, and supplement it with bonus tasks that can wait until another day. If you finish the realistic tasks, move onto your bonus list.

But remember to be aware that stress happens, often without you realising. Take breaks, breathe deeply, listen to your favourite songs, and pack a healthy lunch.

 

Editors Note: This is a guest post from our friends over at BrightHR in the UK.

Best Employee Handbooks
Company CultureOnboarding

If you’re sitting there wondering what should be included in an employee handbook, you’ve come to the right place — we’ve scoured tons of employee handbooks for you to find the best examples out there to draw inspiration from.

In addition to covering laws and regulations (more on that here), the greatest employee handbooks out there all have one thing in common: They’re unique. They have an original voice and tone and are memorable. Some companies are now even creating both employee handbooks AND culture books, while others are choosing to combine both in one extensive book.

And let’s not forget that while handbooks are an awesome way to welcome new employees, they can also be a great recruiting tool should you decide to make your handbook public to complement your company’s current employer branding efforts.

1. The Valve employee handbook

valve

Valve’s notorious employee handbook went viral and is commonly shared as an example of a strong handbook (and for good reason!).

I mean, how many company handbooks throughout history have gone viral? Not many.

The handbook itself is empathetic, informative, and friendly. Not only does it walk new employees through their first day, but it also goes into the company’s philosophy by providing real, useful examples. For example, in one section, they mention that the company has a flat structure and that each employee is in charge of choosing his or her own projects.

The book mentions that as an employee, you may be invited to work on many projects within the company — but that ultimately, it’s up to you, the employee, to decide which projects to work on (regardless of anything else).

By writing down and referencing real, specific examples, employees can more easily prepare for different situations before they happen. It makes employees more comfortable and at ease during the onboarding process, and it’s also a great way to stay consistent as your company grows.

 

2. Disqus Culture Book

disqus culture book

The Disqus Culture Book is another example of a handbook that is full of personality. Far from boring or typical, this book covers everything from life at Disqus to their favorite phrases (and everything in between).

The writing itself is conversational, making it super easy to read and relate to. In other words, it sounds like a real human talking — not a robot.

The Disqus onboarding process is interesting: They have their very own employee handbook with rules and regulations, but they also have a culture book. So, they have two official guides for new hires to stay organized and on the same page:

Disqus

Not only is their culture book beautifully designed, but it’s also full of casual memes and photos to lighten things up and showcase their work culture.

Don’t get me wrong: The book is professionally done — but Disqus realizes that you can still be a great company without sacrificing personality and individuality, and this book is a perfect example of this in practice.

The book also includes a timeline and history with company milestones, to show employees when the company was started and how it grew over time.

Not only is the Disqus culture book an excellent way to welcome new team members and show them what to expect, but it also offers a down-to-Earth look into what it’s like working at Disqus, which can be useful in attracting potential new recruits to the company. It’s a win-win.

If you’re looking to create a modern handbook in a similar style, I’d recommend checking out online handbook builders like AirMason.

 

3. HubSpot Culture Code

hubspot culture

Let’s not forget that you can get quite creative with presentation when it comes to showcasing your company mission and values, too. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, because standing out can really work in your favor.

For example, HubSpot published their Culture Code slide presentation on SlideShare as a way of demonstrating their mission and revealing who they are. Not only is this a creative way to talk about your company values, but it also happens to be perfectly in line with their inbound marketing product.

In other words, they practice what they preach — even down to their HR efforts.

The visuals are rich with photographs, illustrations, and beautiful design. The SlideShare presentation proved itself as a very effective way to get their message across and recruit new candidates and received many, many views.

Whether it’s a slideshow, movie, blog series, or eBook — there are so many ways to promote your company’s message.

 

4. Zappos Culture Book

Zappos Handbook

If you’re big on company culture, chances are you’ve heard about Zappos more than a few times.

Zappos has become a leader in company culture, from offering employees thousands of dollars to quit if they aren’t a good fit, all the way to their heavy focus on excellent customer support. So it really came as no surprise that in 2014, Zappos published their Culture Book online for all to see, and it generated quite a bit of buzz.

This book includes their values and mission, along with TONS of testimonials straight from — you guessed it — the employees themselves. The reviews from employees are inspiring to read and highlight what it’s really like working at Zappos.

Besides, who better to talk about what it’s like working for a company than its very own employees?

Think about it: When someone recommends that you try something they’ve been doing for years and love, aren’t you much more likely to consider it?

The same can be applied to recruiting talent to your company: The more stories and employee testimonials you have, the more potential candidates have to learn from.

5. The Netflix Culture Slides

Netflix created a guide to their freedom and responsibility culture guide, which was eventually posted to SlideShare in an easy-to-digest format.

Not only is it extensive as ever, covering company-wide values (like their no-brilliant-jerks policy), but it also talks about how they plan on scaling while keeping their original values.

The Netflix culture slides are straightforward, conversational, and informative, preparing employees for their journey ahead.

Creating Your Own Employee Handbook

Whether you want to talk about your company’s culture, company policies, or both — getting it down in writing is always a good idea.

You may be wondering, “When should I start doing this at my company?”

The truth is that it’s never too early to start writing down your values, and as your business grows, it’ll help you stay consistent and organized. Plus, everyone will be on the same page (and who wouldn’t want that?).

employee handbook example
Generate your own handbook with our partners AirMason

There are many ways to get started — you can craft your own from scratch, or you can use an online tool like AirMason (example above) to generate modern and beautiful handbooks (which you can host online or export as a PDF to print).

Do you have an example of a great employee handbook? We’d love to hear about it!