Manage Employees

2024 is in full swing and it’s worth taking a moment to consider the themes shaping companies’ decision-making.  It’s probably also prudent to think about what needs updating in our employee handbooks.  Here are some high-level observations on the trends we are observing in workplaces and making their way into employee handbooks.    

Trend 1: Adapting to Changing State and Local Policies

It’s no secret that the velocity of changes at the state and local level is increasing in the US.  State-level legislation that affects the conversation between employees and employers has increased and city councils across have shown they’re willing to implement their own rules.  We’ve tracked dozens of city-specific policies that need to be implemented in handbooks in the last year.  Some themes from cities include transportation benefits for employees, sick and safe leave benefits, protected characteristics, and paid family leave.

Trend 2: Inclusion of Remote Work Policies

As the work-from-home trend continues, the need for clear guidelines around setting up a productive home office environment has increased.  Expectations for availability and response times in remote settings are more important than ever, and many companies are refining hastily implemented COVID-era policies.  Many teams are addressing policies that are inclusive of time zone differences, flexible scheduling for international employees, and protocols for developing culture across in-person and remote teams.

Trend 3: Handbook Integration and Accessibility

The days of employee handbooks being printed and stuffed into a binder are behind us.  The best handbooks are living documents that reflect operational and cultural norms in a company and are updated regularly.  The best way to accomplish this is with a digital document that is always up-to-date and readily accessible.  Here are some trends around integrating your handbook into your employee’s workflows:

  • Share a live link to the most current version of the handbook that’s always up to date
  • Add the link to resources employees already use (intranet, shared drives, etc)
  • Make sure the handbook is accessible on mobile and easy to navigate
  • Provide a feedback mechanism for employees to privately suggest improvements

Trend 4: Enhanced Focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing

More companies than ever are providing access to online mental health resources and virtual counseling.  And employees are taking advantage of these benefits in record numbers.  Companies that encourage a culture of openness and support around mental health issues seem to be faring better at job satisfaction and retention surveys.  It’s probably worth reviewing policies around paid leave, mental health, and counseling resources.  

Trend 5: Compliance with NLRA and Protecting Employee Rights

As we’ve seen in the last few years, labor union activity across the US is increasing.  We’ve also seen a renewed emphasis and legislation on employees’ rights to discuss wages and working conditions.  It’s a great time to ensure that your social media usage policy doesn’t infringe on employees’ NLRA rights and that managers are trained on NLRA compliance and employee protections.  It’s always a good idea to include examples of permissible and prohibited behaviors in your handbook.  

Trend 6: Use of Data Protection and Privacy Policies

For many companies, a data breach is among their largest downside risks.  Many companies are providing robust training on data protection best practices and cybersecurity.  Having detailed guidelines on personal and professional data usage and storage is important for every company.  And don’t forget to consider a policy for the ethical use of customer data in decision-making.

Trend 7: Interactive Onboarding Processes

The first few days and weeks of an employee’s work at a company are crucial and onboarding has never been more important.  Many companies are reconsidering best practices for successful onboarding and including more immersive elements like virtual meet-and-greets with teams, highly interactive training, and feedback loops to improve the onboarding process based on employee experiences.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, considering these trends prompts you to consider changes to your employee handbook. helps companies create and employee handbook that informs and guides company culture and promotes employee engagement.

Authored by Matt Hannam, founder of