You think about how well you want your company to run, but none of your employees actually read the handbook on how it’s supposed to work. Every entrepreneur experiences these frustrations, and while you cannot expect employees to read every word you put in front of them, there are ways you can create a handbook that they will actually care about.
Whether they know it or not, chances are your employees are visual learners, and by customizing handbooks that make them easy to read and remember, the sales, finance, and managerial teams will know what they are responsible for, will know how to get their assignments complete, and become more productive.
There is a reason why people just accept social media platforms terms of service without actually looking at what they are agreeing to – it’s too much to read. All the words are bunched together in jargon the reader does not understand, or care to. But they agree to it anyway just to use the service and figure they will deal with the consequences later. But you should not let your team become lazy about what you need them to know.
The handbook you give to your employees needs to be visually appealing so they read and remember what is in it. Sixty-five percent of the population, including your employees, are visual learners. That means they understand new concepts best when they can follow along with illustrations, graphics, and designs that make items pop off the page. There is tons of evidence to show this to be true, including studies that prove using visuals increases retention and improves an individual’s comprehension – skills you want those you hire to have so they are successful.
Creating a visually appealing employee handbook, however, is not an easy process. Thinking creatively on how to demonstrate what you need your employees to know and how it links to the rest of the company takes time. The good news is this could be done in a variety of ways including making a guide that shows processes, bubble charts on who is responsible for what in each department, and for those in the C-Suite, you can make the organizations mission clear so they can effectively communicate goals to the employees they are managing.
Mis-communication within a small business can cost around $420,000 a year. An easy to read handbook can help answer questions when a bad email is sent, explain why collaboration is important and therefore encouraged, and motivate employees to think for themselves.
Don’t just take our word for it. A TechSmith study showed that two-thirds of employees are better at their jobs when the tasks they are given are explained using images, and a businesses could gain $1,200 in productivity per year for every employee they have by implementing these methods.
In today’s fast paced work environment, employees are consuming information as quick as they receive it, and it becomes the employers responsibility to deliver the information they want their company to know in an easy to understand format. There is no question that visuals help to accomplish this and taking the time to create an employee handbook that uses them will help improve productivity so your company works the way you want it to.
Thanks for the awesome article Caroline!
We are currently facing exactly this issue in our company: our employee handbook isn’t read by anyone, and it only covers general workplace policies (not how each employee should execute their work).
I’m working on improving this, but I’m curious if you can recommend any resources/tools for creating a visual handbook? I’ve been checking out software like draw.io to create flowcharts. But do you have any other recommendations?
Thanks for your comment Soraya! For the most part I recommend Google’s G Suite for flowcharts and creating short how to videos for employees to have as a resource. Happy to continue the conversation over email! My email address is: [email protected]!