Onboarding employees and keeping them informed is pretty challenging these days, seeing as many companies have switched to remote or hybrid work.
Your employee handbook plays a vital part in onboarding, training, and information sharing. Creating such a handbook from scratch is always a challenge, but that’s especially true nowadays when you have to do it digitally to include your remote workers.
If you’re all out of ideas or don’t even know where to start, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! Let’s go through six examples of quality employee handbooks for remote workers and see how you can create one that’s just as good.
GitLab, an all-remote DevOps company, probably has the longest and most extensive staff manual globally, with over 2,000 pages.
You might shudder at the thought of reading that much, but GitLab’s handbook is digital, meaning that all workers can access and search through it to get to the section or piece of information they need.
An employee at GitLab doesn’t have to ask around for information or be left in the dark because everything is available through a simple search. Thus, the company empowers employees and makes work easier by reducing the time they spend searching for information.
Every section of the handbook has subsections, and each subsection is filled with interesting data that is sure to help the team.
The Remote Manifesto section gives excellent advice and resources for remote workers, explaining how they can adjust to the new working environment, listing some disadvantages and advice on how to overcome them, and even linking GitLab’s reports and surveys.
Moreover, GitLab uses the employee guide to demonstrate the company’s commitment to transparency. After all, they have shared it with the general public, thus allowing anyone to have a read. This type of sharing might be a good tactic to attract new employees and clients, and it can also make employees feel more connected to the company to the company.
One of the best aspects of GitLab’s employee handbook is that anyone can edit or change a part of it through Merge, and send their changes in for a review. That way, the people in charge of managing the staff guide can check the updates and decide whether to keep, modify, or reject them.
In this way, GitLab has made their staff guide collaborative, and included their employees in creating and updating the document. On top of that, the decision to let workers suggest changes ensures everything stays current.
In conclusion, GitLab’s handbook stands out because of the amount of data it contains and how easy it is to navigate through it.
Basecamp, an internal communications software business, has taken a different approach to employee manuals from GitLab. They’re a smaller company, so it’s not surprising that their handbook is just 15 pages long.
However, Basecamp being a relatively small company doesn’t mean they’re beginners or inexperienced.
In fact, they are longtime advocates of remote working and have even written a book about it, which you can check out here. So, Basecamp knows how to make remote work as easy and exciting as possible.
The guide begins with the company describing how it started and what it used to do wrong. As an employee, wouldn’t you like to see that your company is not afraid of admitting they’ve made mistakes and rectified them?
The slip Basecamp admits is that they went without a handbook for ten years, relying on employees to learn everything on the go.
However, they realized this approach was wrong and invested in a guide that explains all the details that make Basecamp Basecamp. At the same time, they’ve managed to simplify the onboarding process for their employees.
Like GitLab, Basecamp’s handbook is publicly available. This means that you can check how the company works, their rituals, and what kind of perks and benefits employees get even if you’re not one of the workers.
The guide is written in a fun, engaging manner, and it uses humor to make things interesting, which helps Basecamp ensure that people actually read it. After all, getting employees to read the employee handbook is quite a challenge for a fifth of all companies.
However, companies that stick to short and informative handbooks while keeping them entertaining, like Basecamp, increase the manual’s chances of getting read and acknowledged. In other words, such companies have a great way of solving this problem.
To sum up, brevity and language are the most significant advantages of a handbook like Basecamp’s.
ConvertKit is an email marketing software company. Their employee handbook is uploaded on their website and accessible by the general public. Links lead you from section to section, and none of them are overwhelmed with information and details.
As previously mentioned, transparency is the key to success for most businesses, especially in a hybrid work setting.
ConvertKit takes transparency to the next level since they even publish their revenue and other metrics, including the number of customers and churn, for everyone to see. In other words, the company is not afraid to show they have nothing to hide.
And research shows that this does wonders for employee loyalty. When employees working for a company that valued transparency were asked whether they would continue working for them, an overwhelming majority said they would.
On the other hand, 45% of those working for less transparent companies said the same. Therefore, transparency can majorly affect your business, productivity, and employee loyalty. So, your staff handbook is something that can drastically affect commitment.
In their employee manual, ConvertKit describes one of their core values, Working in Public.
This value leads them to share everything with the world, from their biggest accomplishments to the most devastating failures. This type of openness might be why ConvertKit has over 38,000 active customers.
An exciting thing about ConvertKit’s staff manual is that it includes a unique section—a part of the handbook that explains what makes the company stand out from all the rest.
The language is simple and clear to understand, making it more probable that workers will read the entire document. On top of that, the ten different pages with various subsections make the staff manual a quick read, too.
ConvertKit’s most significant advantage is complete transparency, clearly heavily ingrained in their company culture. They do an excellent job of showcasing this culture through their handbook, which is, at the end of the day, one of the purposes of such a document.
Bolt, a fintech company, places a significant emphasis on company culture. Their handbook is all about Conscious Culture, which stresses that people and culture are just as important as the final product.
In other words, the CEO and founder Ryan Breslow values his employees and communication just as much as he cares about the software itself.
Bolt published their playbook, deciding to share instructions for other companies to follow in their footsteps. The staff manual explains what it means to be culturally conscious and what this culture is all about.
From the very introduction, Bolt’s handbook feels like a breath of fresh air with how it puts employees first.
Visually, the sidebar is pretty intuitive, so it’s easy for employees and visitors to find what they are looking for in a couple of clicks. Therefore, nobody has to waste time finding specific information.
Bolt also kept the language simple, making it easier for people to read and understand all the basic principles of their company.
However, the handbook stands out from all the others because it points to everything the company is doing for the employees. The feedback section promises the workers at least monthly feedback, and another point stresses the importance of writing over talking.
Bolt doesn’t want the loudest person to win a discussion, but the one with the best solution, so they urge everyone to contribute their ideas. Employees can add or edit a lot, so the best ideas can shine.
Additionally, Breslow says that “the biggest problem with remote work wasn’t people working less, it was people working way too much,” which is why they’ve decided to switch to four-day workweeks.
Their research found that most people have a better work-life balance and feel more productive when working four days a week. Bolt’s playbook stresses how important it is not to overwork yourself.
In other words, Bolt keeps proving that they live by their handbook, which makes it unique.
Toptal, a fully remote freelancing platform, has made an employee handbook that helps companies do the same. Being fully remote for over ten years and having more than 4,000 workers in 100 countries, Toptal has all the tips and secrets on being successful and productive while working from home.
On top of that, Toptal’s handbook brings the entire team closer together. The way the company did this is genius. Usually, companies write guides as a set of rules and regulations, through which they try to weave their company culture.
Not Toptal, though. Some sections offer priceless tips for remote workers and explain what the company stands for, while others explain what the HR team goes through when recruiting, detailing how to pick and choose suitable candidates.
The workers can see what the entire process of hiring and onboarding looks like from the other side, thus gaining a new respect for the HR team. In other words, Toptal has found a way to make their entire company seem more approachable, more human.
Another great thing they do is use actual employee quotes, mainly from higher-ups who have invaluable advice to share with the team. This way, the team gets some food for thought and learns more about the person in charge, the management, or the company itself.
Isn’t that a great way of bringing people closer together? Of course, if you consider that Toptal is a pioneer of remote work, then the need to cultivate a culture of togetherness becomes even more necessary and valuable.
Another fantastic thing about Toptal is that they incorporate media into their employee guide, thus breaking lines of text with a visual element, proven to attract attention.
For example, they incorporated an audio clip of an interview with the VP of People, Michelle Labbe, who goes in-depth about cultural assessment’s importance in recruiting.
Since research shows that 59% of people listen to posts and articles rather than read them, Toptal ensures that people have something to listen to when they scroll through the handbook.
Clearly, Toptal has made a fun and engaging handbook invaluable to other companies trying to go remote as much as it is to their own fully remote workforce. The addition of quotes, graphics, and audio clips brings Toptal’s employee handbook to the next level.
Glitch, a software company, has made its staff handbook short and sweet. They posted the guide on their own website, thus letting the people reading get a taste of what they can do.
Employees who look up the handbook will see all kinds of information, including what they can expect on their first day. In this section, Glitch also gives insight into what software to use and why.
If you were an employee, wouldn’t this type of knowledge make you feel at ease? Consider the fact that you would be able to look up the handbook even before your first day and walk into work fully prepared.
Glitch’s employee handbook contains actionable advice and instructions for new (and old) hires, making it a document many turn to, even if it’s not their first week of work.
One of the most valuable options of their handbook is the search option at the top of the page, right next to the section index, which allows anyone to find exactly the information they need.
Of course, the general public can’t access every part of the staff guide as some are meant for employees’ eyes only. But, you can still get a good feel of the company culture and mode of communication through the sections accessible by everyone.
Another thing that makes this particular employee guide unique is that it allows people to see the code behind the handbook and “remix” it, as Glitch puts it. In other words, they allow other companies to use their staff manual as a template for their employee guides.
Maybe the best part of Glitch’s employee handbook is that they keep it short and to the point. There is no additional text, no external links, or steering away from the topic.
They explain what the employees need to know before and during their time with the company in a simple, easily understandable manner.
Use Archbee to Create Your New Employee Handbook
After checking out six different but very useful and valuable employee handbooks, it’s time to work on your own.
We at Archbee have the perfect software to help you do everything listed above and even go a step further. We’ll demonstrate it using our handbook.
Archbee’s employee guide is easy to use. The menu on the left allows users to do many things, including search through the entire handbook, catch up on the updates, post private documents, or jump to the section that interests them.
The people in charge of creating your employee guide can breathe easy since Archbee allows them to import documents from their computer, thus avoiding dull and time-consuming copy-pasting.
On top of enabling you to import documents, we’ve integrated some top-quality apps into our database software, including:
So, your handbook can include links and elements from these programs, too.
You can also add different emojis to improve your business communication, even in section titles. If you use emojis here, you’re showing your team it’s okay to do that themselves, which can bring the team communication to a new level.
Your employees never have to wonder about the intended tone of the received message if they use emojis, for starters.
Archbee’s handbook also allows easy updates. You can set up the system in a way that makes your handbook managers approve every update. This is important because you can’t let just anyone make changes to your company policies.
Even then, updating is much easier than it would have been if the managers had to do the entire thing themselves. If you include employees in the process, you will also increase their engagement, so it’s a double win for you!
The best part about it? The software shows you what sections were updated, so you don’t have to read the entire thing whenever there’s a change. Nobody has time for that, so this feature is perfect for all users.
We’ve mentioned how important it is to use media in your handbook or posts, which is why our software lets you add different types of content to your manual. Through Archbee, you can embed videos, insert images, use checklists, and format text however you see fit.
In other words, you can take your content to the next level by breaking more significant parts of the text with the help of video, graphics, and audio clips.
Finally, Archbee’s database is interactive, meaning any employee can highlight a part of a text and ask a question or leave a comment.
The person in charge of the selected section or anyone who knows the answer can respond, thus ensuring a quick and easy knowledge transfer between colleagues directly in the document.
The comments also stay in the database, so anyone who reads the same section can click on the highlighted text and check the exchange out, which is helpful if they have the same question or just want to know more.
The best remote employee handbooks let your worker know your company and feel like a part of the team.
To achieve this, you have to use language that won’t bore employees and will grab their attention. Still, the content must be enjoyable, which you can achieve by inserting extra content like images, videos, or audio clips.
Maybe the essential part of a handbook is searchability. If your employees don’t have a search option, they have to read the staff manual whenever they’re looking for a piece of data. Give them a search button, and rest easy knowing your handbook answers the questions your team has!