The four-word employee handbook
Everything I want from myself and others at work (and in life!) can be summed up in four words:
Honor God. Love others.
When we started Logos Bible Software twenty years ago, I used a software program to generate a boilerplate “attorney approved” employee handbook. When employees asked “What’s our policy on…?” I might refer them to the handbook, since I couldn’t always remember what it said. But more often I would just approve their special request, or tell them to use their best judgment.
Then I took the Zappos tour, and read the Netflix culture slides. And I realized that we already employed awesome, smart people who trust each other. What did we need a butt-covering book of legalese for?
So that’s it: Honor God. Love others. Our new employee handbook in a nutshell, and the primary measure we weigh decisions against.
To complement the nutshell-handbook we developed a set of slides that expound on the theme, meet the letter of the law, introduce our corporate values, and explain the culture. We even decided on two actual rules: no smoking, and no open flames.
It can be scary to work with so few guidelines. Managers wonder if employees will abuse the un-tracked vacation time; employees wonder if they’re embracing too much or too little freedom. It requires trust and openness and conversation. But after 18 months it is working well.