Human Resources

Making Policies Come Alive


Once your handbook is optimized for employee interest, the strategy can begin. Here are four ways you can use handbooks to elevate the importance of what you do.


Managers and executives need to model the behavior they want to see from employees. When everyone from the owner to executives to mid-level managers are living a company’s values, for example, it’s easier for employees to do the same. When having discussions with your leadership team, reference any relevant policies you’ve created. It shows you’re on top of things and lets leadership know they and their teams are accountable to them.


Training is one of the best ways to highlight your policies. According to learning and development expert Dr. Carmen Poole, “engagement is appreciating information, not just for its own sake, but also with the goal of applying it towards something else.” Train employees on the substance of your policies to give them more context on why they matter and how to apply what they learned to their day-to-day.


When an employee violates a policy, find a way to address it. Otherwise, it sends the message that it’s OK to violate any policy. Admittedly, enforcement is not a fun part of the job. But consistent enforcement of your policies keeps the trains running. Your handbook is your guide.


There are countless ways to communicate with your workforce. For handbooks, a critical one is aligning what’s in your handbook to company-wide initiatives. If leadership is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, for example, then use that as a torch to show employees what your policies cover and where they can find them