February 23, 2020

No One Is Reading Your Handbook, But They Could Be

No One Is Reading Your Handbook, But They Could Be

GreenOrbit LogoNo one reads employee handbooks. I know, I know. It’s frustrating, but it’s more than likely true. In fact, people don’t really read deeply in general at all — studies have shown they skim. (You’re probably skimming this article for the headings too, right?) So, let’s think about this reality in light of employee handbooks, compliance, and the digital age.

The paper handbooks you gave employees on their first day are probably crammed in their bottom desk drawer somewhere. Further, few employees even pay attention during the annual in-person policies and procedures training. If they did pay attention, they likely forgot most of it by now. It’s not that I’m being cynical — this is just being human. Our brains are inefficient machines. To remember things, professor of psychology Oliver Hardt believes we must actively forget.

The first few weeks on the job are overwhelming. You’re meeting new people, a new city, new routines, and a new commute, so your brain is going to forget a lot of things. The 2017 Training Industry Report showed US companies spent $1,075 per employee on training — but how much of that training is ignored or forgotten?

Even though it’s mandatory, compliance doesn’t have to be printed on paper, which is quickly tossed aside. Important policies, documents, and annual trainings are traditionally stored in filing cabinets, but they can also be managed online with an intranet.

An intranet is a better solution for your information distribution for several reasons. First, it provides employees instant access to important information, with read receipts and feedback. Second, its documents and training can be updated in real time, avoiding the trap of information being outdated before the ink even dries. And third, it saves companies money.

So, what does this look like?

HR Technology News: Private Messages and Interactive Content Are Key to Better Employee Experiences, Report Finds

Providing Employees Instant Access

Josh Bersin, an influential voice in the L&D community, argues for a concept called “learning in the flow of work.” It’s superior to long-form learning because the employee who needs the information has what they need when they need it, rather than a hundred pages of information that may not be relevant at the time.

Policy and company information can be thought of in the same way. Let’s say your employee needs to learn about the expense policy, or they need to check the process for taking a sick day. This on-demand information should be readily available through a global search or easily found link to a document that’s always up to date and relevant to their needs.

Updating in Real Time

That brings me to updating in real time. The work environment is changing rapidly — you know this. With whole business models changing over the course of a year or two, you have to know that information such as performance management processes will change quickly, too. How do you keep employees informed?

In short, the documents, regulations, and values of your company have to be front and center, sure, but they also have to be continually modified. They’re living, breathing documents, just like a blog or website. The second point is that you also have to regularly communicate these changes to your employees. Through a modern intranet platform, you can break down silos and share knowledge through company-wide announcements or specific channels.

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Saving Hard-Earned Money

The last point is an obvious one. Any new technology must save companies money. How does an intranet do that? Think about this.

The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that this loss in productivity due to poor communication costs an organization $62.4 million per year. That’s everything from not properly communicating policies as well as sending a curt but unclear email.

Ask yourself, how much time have you spent this week on searching for a lost reimbursement form or finding the right policy document? How much productivity have you lost because you couldn’t remember where the last version of your file was or who last commented their revisions?

And how much do you think that costs your organization? Now multiply that number by the size of your team — you’ll find that disorganization and poor communication make up quite a loss on your balance sheet.

An Intranet: The Modern Compliance and Collaboration Solution

So, when it comes to the modern work environment, it might be worth it to check out an often-overlooked tool: The intranet.

A quality intranet can keep your documents searchable and safe, for a single source of truth for all your company information. With an intranet, you can collaborate and learn in real time with your team, you can create and distribute important documents, and you can customize the needs of your business.

Saving a little money and the planet on the side isn’t so bad either.

HR Technology Interview: TecHR Interview with Russell Fradin, CEO and Co-Founder at Dynamic Signal

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