Ensure Your Employee Handbook Helps Amplify the Employee Experience

Author: Kate Bischoff

Date: May 1, 2023

The disruptions to work and home life which began during the pandemic still have many employees reevaluating what is most important to them. Many are seeking a sense of community, personalized and ongoing development, dedication to their well-being, and work opportunities that align with their personal values and career desires.

In response, HR and business leaders are reexamining the employee experience and looking for ways to enhance it with an inclusive culture, embracing the employees' voice, and offering ways of working that invite collaboration and preclude burnout. The goal is that employees will respond with boosted productivity and improved engagement.

If your organization is aiming to improve the employee experience and reap the benefits of a more satisfied, engaged, innovative and productive workforce, get started with revamping cumbersome employee handbooks full of stiff policies and regulations with one that can be curated to the employee's needs and leads with people-focused information about:

  • Mission and values of the organization;
  • Flexible scheduling and remote working arrangements; and
  • Skills-based work opportunities and internal talent mobility.

These handbook sections signal leadership's commitment to ensuring employees' sense of purpose, well-being and career development. Featuring these sections upfront and prominently in the handbook will have a direct impact on employees' perceptions about and experiences at work.

A Sense of Purpose

While every employee needs to pay the bills, many choose an employer for less tangible reasons. Employers that define a clear purpose and mission and share it across the organization can make the work experience more meaningful.

For many employees, their sense of purpose is inextricably linked with their jobs. And helping your team find it is nothing short of a business necessity. According to data from McKinsey, 70% of employees say their sense of purpose is defined by their work.

Defining the "why work here" is relatively easy. The chief executive officer or people leader can outline the organization's mission in a welcome statement or introduction to the handbook itself. A warm welcome statement covering the organization's mission or goals sets the right tone at the very beginning of employment.

The mission should also state how the organization's work impacts the community or the world at large. It reminds employees how the results of their work meet an important need, provide value or serve others.

A detailed description of the organization's values and how the employees' work promotes them should follow the mission statement in the handbook. These value statements, when reinforced by the organization's behavior, can be critical to creating a shared sense of purpose.


Along similar lines, the handbook should not be silent on employee well-being. All too often the handbook just addresses employee health and safety, but it stops short of addressing today's modern approach to well-being. Be intentional in spelling out how the organization:

  • Focuses on the whole human well-being - including financial stability, mental and physical health, and happiness at work;
  • Requires a well-being strategy that accommodates the personal, family and friends, community, suppliers and vendors, and societal nourishment while serving as a model for change for others; and
  • Honors a people-first work structure that keeps stress and burnout checked.

Career Development

The opportunities offered for career growth and development are an important part of the employee experience. One reason why talented, high performing employees exit is for the chance to develop new skills and further their careers or even change careers.

Employers that want to keep their top talent will communicate openly and transparently, invest in upskilling employees, and ensure opportunities for their lateral movement throughout the organization that align with responsibilities of personal interest and growth.

Most importantly, they'll make sure employees know about these initiatives and that they're not just buried on the company intranet somewhere. Be sure to document your organization's approach to career development in the handbook and make it available to show your organization is committed to a long-term investment in developing its employees in line with their personal career aspirations.

Closing Thoughts

The employee experience encompasses all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, from recruitment to exit. The handbook addresses so many touchpoints along the way; it's the ideal tool to help reinforce an employee experience that benefits employee and employer alike. Don't overlook it.

Additional Resources

Why Career Development Enhances Retention More Than Ever

How Your Organization Can Prevent Employee Burnout