When is the last time you picked up your 60-page paper-copy employee handbook and flipped through it to look up a policy? Your first week of work, maybe? In the age of Google searches and cloud storage, paper handbooks are swiftly going out of style. Here are a few reasons why you should consider moving your handbook into the 21st century:
- Things change quickly. Remember when we were all worried about the new overtime salary threshold and everyone scrambled to update policies and practices to get ready to comply? Wasn't it SO MUCH FUN when the new rule was stopped by an injunction about a week before it was supposed to go into effect? Now, raise your hand if you'd already printed paper information about new exempt/non-exempt guidelines. Don't be shy. If you'd used some sort of electronic system to store your policies--whether a fancy policy manager that notifies employees of changes or a simple Google doc--you wouldn't have paper copies of outdated policies floating around, and Mother Nature would be a bit happier too. Now that nobody has any idea what's going to change and how quickly, it's a great time to get to get your policies into the cloud.
- Tables of Contents are so last-century. I can find an email from 7 years ago in about 3 seconds by using my email provider's awesome search functionality. I guarantee you that your workforce is used to doing the same. People use the tools we give them when those tools are intuitive and quick--and typing "FMLA" into the search bar of your policy management system is faster and easier than wading through a 2-page TOC to find out that your leave policies start on page 64.
- Smart phones fit in their pockets. Using a program that has an app--yes, even Google Drive--means your employees (and, more importantly, managers) have your policies at their fingertips. "I couldn't find my copy" is no longer an excuse for failing to consult the policy before making an iffy decision.
Need some help getting on board the digital train? There are a lot of companies that will sell you (expensive but fancy) SaaS-based policy management services, or you can always try the do-it-yourself approach. Independent HR consultants can do much of the work for you and update your policies along the way. Any option you choose, your employees will thank you.