Essential Employee Handbook Updates

Essential Employee Handbook Updates

Over the last two-plus years, businesses everywhere have undergone significant transformations—whether they were ready for them or not.


From where, how, and when employees work to what workers are expecting from a prospective job and organization, HR and business leaders today are overseeing talent strategy in a much different world of work.  And for many, it happened fast.

For instance, according to a McKinsey study released at the end of 2020, one of the biggest changes was the increase in remote working. On average, organizations surveyed had expected a shift to remote to take nearly a year-and-a-half to implement; instead, it happened in about 10 days. Likewise, these companies said they had been strategizing to implement more advanced technologies in their operations over about a two-year period but had to make that shift in just three weeks.

With such rapid changes, organizations need to keep communication with talent at the forefront to ensure current and future employees are cognizant of exactly how the organization operates—allowing for the best alignment between the company and talent. Additionally, as employees grow increasingly empowered to seek employers that are the ideal fit, it’s particularly important for businesses to convey the totality of their employee value proposition.

Here are a few areas that you should be sure to spotlight throughout your company literature, including in employee handbooks and onboarding materials, and communicate consistently to all employees:



Healthcare benefits have long been table stakes for employees but that’s even more true today as we head into an eventual post-COVID world. Prospective and current employees are craving a new level of healthcare benefits. For instance, the events of the last few years have made virtual healthcare a priority along with employer support for mental health and wellness; to appeal to top talent that is placing new emphasis on their own healthcare, organizations need to be intentional about communicating the details of their healthcare benefits.


Innovation in benefits

Apart from healthcare offerings, today’s employers should also ensure their current and future workforce is tuned into how the organization can help meet the needs of modern employees. According to a 2021 survey by the Society for Human Resources Management, employers rolled out a wealth of new benefits during the pandemic in response to the quickly changing environment and many of those employers intend to keep those offerings going forward. From pet insurance to expanded caregiving support to PTO for social justice activities, the innovation abounding in the benefits space today can be a significant talent attraction and retention tool.


Work location policies

The rise of remote work has been one of the most visible and universal changes employees and employers have experienced, and looking ahead, organizations should take steps to highlight the nuances of their policies on remote and flexible work to convey how the organization differentiates itself. Employees should be well-versed in what a real day in the company looks like—from where and when employees are allowed to work to the technology support the organization provides to remote workers—to appreciate how employment with the organization can fuel a health work/life integration.