Creating Just R's first Employee Handbook!

Hello! I’m Rosie, Brand Marketing Lead here at Just R. As part of my role I take a lead on team culture, which has given me the opportunity to work on the first Just R employee handbook.

Employee Handbook Blog Header

As we are currently undergoing a time of rapid growth, it’s more important than ever to ensure that all of our new people start on the same page. However, a good employee handbook doesn’t only exist to educate new employees about the who’s, what’s and why’s of the business, but is also extremely valuable in ensuring that those already part of the company understand and align with (and have an opportunity to feed into) the values, core messages and culture that we want to live and breathe here at Just R.

So what is the purpose of an Employee Handbook?

Put simply, your employee handbook helps to shape your culture, acting as the first communication a new employee will receive on what you stand for.

How important is a strong, defined culture?

Well, 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, and employees’ overall ratings of their company’s qualities (such as collaboration, work environment, and mission) are 20% higher at Organisations with a strong culture. So in the opinion of Just R, it is essential to the success of a team and, ultimately, the organisation.

What should be covered within the handbook?

Great employee handbooks will outline everything a new employee needs to know, helping to avoid any confusion and reduce opportunities for anxiety around the prospect of starting a new role. For us, this includes everything from our health and wellbeing benefits (such as free yoga) to how to take holidays. At the same time, we also discuss our vision, mission and values, making sure that everyone at Just R is aware of what part they play in making those values come to life. For example, Just R’s core value is to be a Role Model, which means striving to be the best you can be while inspiring others to do the same. This value is communicated through our handbook, along with information and examples of how we live it everyday, through initiatives such as our Role Model nominations, which sees all of us at Just R acknowledge and call out the great work of our fellow team members by nominating each other when we see something exceptional!

How should the handbook be written?

Your handbook should be empathetic, informative and have a tone that reflects your Organisation. We suggest at the very least this should be friendly, ensuring that everybody within your Organisation is on the same page and understands what you’re about. At Just R our handbook is warm, open and written in a way that stimulates conversation and curiosity.

Be Bold - Our Values

Employee Handbook example page

Who is the handbook for?

A good handbook should be for all members of the organisation. This was something which was particularly important to me when creating the handbook for Just R, I wanted the whole team, old and new, to feel like it was something for them that they could be really proud of, and ideally want to show their friends and family! It’s important to foster a sense of belonging, prompting them to resonate with the organisation and feel a sense of loyalty and ownership, ultimately leading to increased engagement within teams.

Why is having an engaged workforce so important?

Not only do 71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to the success of an organisation, but it has also been shown to increase productivity and efficiency. So, if you want employees that get the job done, think about how you can engage them in what you do!

So how do you go about creating it?

My method for beginning work on the handbook was clear – get the people of Just R involved! An employee handbook is their story to tell, so I held internal research discussion sessions with each team member (this will be harder for large organisations; the solution here would be a series of representative focus groups) to determine what they would like to see included. This involved asking questions such as, what are the most important parts of Just R? What did you wish you knew when you started here? As an outsider, what would make you fired up to start working at Just R? From this, a few main themes were developed – team and business culture, employee benefits, what each subteam does, and the onboarding experience. I wanted this to become a document where employees feel they have been given a voice, making them proud to work for Just R, whether it’s the start of their journey with us, or they have already been here for a while!

Where can you draw inspiration?

After the internal research stage, the external research began. Looking to world-class examples, such as Shopify, Valve and Netflix, it was clear that focusing on what makes our organisation unique would become a key focus. For example, at Just R we are very proud of our involvement with health and wellbeing initiatives – this includes everything from mental to physical health, with company run and book clubs alive and kicking within the business!

Who should receive your handbook and when?

Our method is for every member of the team to have access to the handbook at least a week prior to joining us. Including the handbook within the onboarding experience may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many organisations view a handbook as a HR policy document rather than something which tells the story and sets out the vision of an Organisation! As we distribute our handbook pre day 1 it includes details of what to expect during the first day, week, and month at Just R. Our objective is to ensure everyone is made to feel as comfortable and welcome as possible, whilst also providing them with a taste of what’s to come!

In summary…

Our new Just R handbook is something we are really proud of. It serves to set a standard, ensuring our values driven culture, which is punctuated with celebration and wellbeing, is instilled within every new and existing Just R employee. It has been wonderful to create and I cannot urge you more strongly to consider creating your own. I would love for you to look over and provide feedback on any ways you think we could make it better.