Across The Board

Updates, inspiration, and musings from the folks behind Trello.

Optimize Your Employee Manual With These 3 Tips

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Employee manuals shouldn’t be treated as archaic tomes written by someone who retired in 1998 and whose biggest technological contribution was to get them laminated. They’re not door stoppers; they’re the policies put in place to help your employees do their jobs better. They  should be living, breathing documents. Oh, and remember: if they’re alive, they’ll sometimes need watering.

As a company grows, putting together scalable resources for your employees can be a challenge. The ability to access and adapt the information is a great way to maintain flexibility and lower the bar of entry for your employees to access relevant resources.

Is your employee manual an effective resource? Here are a few characteristics that determine whether your manual is useful to your team:

Adaptable And Able To Scale

Employee manuals change over time. Sometimes it’s a small change, like how travel reimbursement receipts are processed, and sometimes it’s huge, like allowing employees to work remotely full time. The place where all of this information lives needs to be easy to update.

employee manual trello board

One way to keep your manual alive is by utilizing a Trello board. Our Employee Manual Trello Board is presented with each policy as a card, filed under the appropriate list. Some list examples are “Benefits,” “Vacation and Holidays,” “Travel Expenses,” and, since we are a distributed team, “All Things Remote.”

Cards are easy to edit as information changes:

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Cards can be dragged up and down a list if you wish to reorder how the information is presented:

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Attachable

Outside resources like links to accounts, photos, and important documents can be attached to specific cards. Whether it’s a PDF with an explanation of health insurance benefits or just a photo to indicate where something is located in the office, what’s important is that all of these external resources exist in a central space.

If you have upgraded to the new Trello Business Class, you can also see previews of these attachments by enabling the Google Drive Power-Up. Entire folders may be attached and able to preview right from the card back.

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Instead of hunting down specific information every time an employee has a question, they know that all materials are easily referenced in one place.

Accessible

You can have the greatest, most in-depth manual on the planet, but if it isn’t available to your employees wherever they are located, then honestly, what’s the point? Employees having the ability to locate relevant company information is as critical as the information itself.

“Your employees are much more likely to read and reference something that is easy to access,” explains Lydia M., Recruiting Coordinator at Trello, “Putting your employee manual into a document or as a separate web page, for example, adds an extra step to referencing something, therefore people are less motivated to do it.”

This is especially true at Trello, where our 55+ team is half remote. Our needs and questions vary greatly from employee to employee, and these questions might arise in different locations and time zones. Since all of our resources are located on a Trello board, this means anyone on the team can quickly pull up our policies anywhere they are.

For example, if you’re traveling for work and wondering how much money is covered for meals, that information is easily accessible on a phone:

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Better think twice about that rare bottle of wine.

Ultimately, whether your manual is referenced daily or every few months, it’s important that it is adaptable, attachable, and most importantly, accessible. This type of transparency makes it easier for your employees (and you!) to receive the necessary information to help them work better.

Check out our Employee Manual sample board. Get inspired or just copy it and adapt it for your team!

employee manual trello board

The info on this sample board was taken directly from our own internal Employee Manual. It’s a great place to work! Oh, and if you want your very own copy of this manual, we’re hiring. ;)

Trello Business Class integrates with your team's favorite tools, like Salesforce and GitHub, to name a few.

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