Your office is finally getting ready to reopen after closure in the face of COVID-19. After weeks (months even) it’s done. You have created a new set of company policies that offer structure and sense and explain the many changes that are being made to keep everyone safe without stifling or condescending to your employees. Job well done, but there is one more issue to address; actually getting your employees to read it.
The reality is that unless you can actively make your company policies something that employees are keen to read and will refer to often they won’t pay them any attention. The last thing you want after all that hard work is for your new policies to become something that employees stuff in the bottom drawer of their desk to gather dust. In this post COVID era that can not only lead to unwitting policy violations but also to endangering employee health. Here are some ways to better ensure that your employees actually read – and take in – what they need to know now.
Put Everything in One Place
You can call it whatever you like – Company Policy Book, Employee Handbook or even something cooler and friendlier like “How Things Work at X Corp” – but you do have to make sure that there is a single, unified document that contains all the new policies.
It should not be a 100-page boring wall of text though. Break it into subsections that make sense – new COVID 19 practices of course but also standard things like paid time off policies, leave policies, healthcare benefits etc – and make use of color, images and other graphical elements to make it easier to read.
Request Employee Feedback
Requesting their feedback on your company policies will encourage your employees to actually read through the document. Plus, it will encourage you to make sure that each and every employee has easy access to your company policies.
When they do give their feedback however make sure that it is acknowledged and taken into account. Not only will that make employees feel valued but it may bring to light sections of the policy that may need to be tweaked or revisited (a pain, but worth doing in the long run)
Make Reading Fun
Remember when you were rewarded with little prizes for your summer reading as a kid? One way to get your employees to actually read your new policies is to do the same. But don’t just take their word for it, plant the prizes as Easter eggs throughout the document instead.
To do this create a special edition of your company policy master document, complete with little sentences like “If you’re reading this, you just won a free (x) gift certificate” or “Good eye, and great job reading the company policy manual thoroughly! You just won a half day off!” Send out that special edition, and in the body of the email, let your employees know about the Easter eggs and some example prizes.
How you approach this strategy can be as minimalist or as maximalist as you see fit, and prizes don’t necessarily have to be costly. But making an entertaining contest out of it will help ensure that your team has their hands and eyes on your company policies.
Do Print and Digital
Lots of your employees would probably prefer to read through the new policy documents on their phone, laptop or e reader. But that’s likely not the case for everyone. Some people will prefer to get a printed copy with sturdy binding, and high-quality paper, especially newer hires, as there is something rather cool about being given a policy book as ‘proof’ they now really belong to your organization.
You should also try to ensure that a digital copy is easy to access often. For every laptop you provide new hires with, have your company policy manual in the bookmarks bar of the web browser. For every company-wide Slack channel, have a link to your company policy manual pinned. And for every HR software that you work with, have that link at-the-ready.