Recently, someone in my network started a discussion on how to create a virtual employee manual. What should it look like? What information should be included in it?

I can already hear you asking… I’m an HR professional not a developer. How could I possibly create my own website?

If that’s what’s troubling you, you can ask a friend or a specialized consultant for a WordPress crash course. If you’re confident and resourceful enough, you could definitely teach yourself how to build a website using WordPress.

You might feel overwhelmed with such a big job, especially if you’ve never built a website before. To give you an idea, it took me a little less than a week to make an employee manual for Cangaroo. It really depends on the size of your company, the amount of documents you have to include and your computer skills.

Here is a quick overview of Cangaroo’s employee manual. Please note that this solution is reserved for our employees and is not available for resale (french version only).

What information do you need for an employee manual?

The first step is to analyze your current circumstances:

  • Did someone create an employee manual in the past?
  • What important information is inside the existing manual?
  • Is there information that could be removed?
  • Do the managers agree to remove and add content?
  • What information is most sought-after by employees?
  • In what order should the information be presented?
  • Who can write the employee manual and make adjustments to it?

The order in which the information is presented might seem trivial, but user experience can make or break your document. If employees can find the information they need quickly, they will ask you fewer redundant questions, making you more productive in the end.

You could even add a “News” section to communicate your company’s updates. However, you will still need to show your employees how to use it properly. If you typically send company announcements by email, you can just include the link to your employee manual in your next email.


The benefits of having an online manual

It’s easy to use, it’s better for the environment and it’s more enjoyable for your employees to read than a 100-page document.

You could copy/paste the link for employees who have questions. For example, if one of your employees has a question about the employee benefits program, you can simply send them the hyperlink with the relevant information.

Plus, you can make modifications quickly if there is a change in the organization. That means you don’t need to write a new manual every year!

It saves money: it will only cost you $60 a year to reserve a domain name or $0 if you use the www.”yourwebsitename” URL.

How do you create a WordPress website?

If you’ve never created a WordPress site, I recommend that you use a template provided by  WordPress to make your employee manual. Here is a guideline on how to create your first WordPress website (in French only).

You won’t have to do any web development or design. WordPress provides a CMS where you can configure most parts of the site on your own.

If you run into difficulties along the way, you can watch tutorials on YouTube.

This is a little tidbit that I would never have guessed when I was making my website, but that was very helpful for me: to post messages on many pages, it’s better to divide the menu into categories (information in French only). This information will come in very handy when you reach this step.

Remember that you’re in charge of the site’s privacy settings. You can make it public (accessible to everyone), private (accessible to a limited number of users that you choose), or completely private (accessible using a URL, but not found on Google).

I recommend using a private site, but keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that the site is secure. If you choose this option, avoid posting anything relating to your company that is strictly confidential.

Last but not least, if you already have a corporate intranet, you can incorporate the employee guide into it without having to create a separate site. The most important is that your employees know where and how to find the information they’re looking for.