Should your Company Share your Employee Handbook Publicly?

Some employers’ handbooks are available publicly, (i.e. shared online), while others are circulated internally only, and closely guarded. Why is this?

Much of the information covered in your employee handbook is consistent across many organizations. However, some organizations keep this manual private to ensure competitors cannot access internal policies or proprietary information, as well to avoid possible legal issues. Although some perceive there to be risks with keeping this manual private, there are many benefits to sharing this manual publicly too. Consider the benefits listed below when deciding whether or not to safeguard this manual:

Pros of Sharing your Employee Handbook Publicly

  • New hires may google your handbook online before they join your organization. This is when they’re most excited and likely have the time and capacity to go through this manual in detail. Provide your new hires with the information they need to prepare and – get excited for – their new roles by offering this manual publicly.
  • Candidates are interviewing your organization as much as you are interviewing them for fit. If candidates can access your handbook during the interview process, they may be able to decide for themselves whether they’re a fit – and ultimately save your organization time and money by avoiding hires that are not a good fit with your policies and culture.   
  • If honesty and transparency are core values of your organization, consider posting your employee handbook online. New hires and prospective candidates alike may get skeptical if your organization prides themselves on transparency, yet keeps this manual private. They may wonder what exactly you are trying to hide, which may leave them feeling discouraged.
  • Sharing your employee handbook with new hires before their start dates avoids confusion. A new hire may think they have a good understanding of the company’s policies  from the interview process. However, there maybe certain details that have not been relayed that could affect his/her decision to join the organization. For example; A new hire may get told that a company has a 3 week vacation policy. However, he/she may not be aware that paid vacation only applies after 1 full year of employment. Information like this is important to shall in full at the start to ensure fit and to avoid confusion, employee frustration and negative feelings down the road.  

Whatever side of the fence you sit on, a new hire that accepts a job without knowing all the terms is risky for both the employer and new hire. If you choose to keep your employee handbook private, consider developing a policy where this manual is shared with candidates before they accept your offer. AirMason hosts your employee handbook via unique URL publically, or password protected. Learn more about our features here.