Recently I was asked how a company that had never had an employee in manual in place should go about implementing their new Employee Handbook with their team. With your team if they have had nothing to this level of detail in place it will be a cultural shift for them.
I suggest starting with training your managers first on their roles and responsibilities. Talk them through the manual in some depth – make sure each manager has access to a copy. For the first time they do anything with the new rules – such as recruitment or performance review, sit with them while they go through the process to help them learn as they go.
Your managers will also want input into how the procedures work in their area. They may want to edit the words to better match their understanding or the internal operating processes of your company. Allow that editing process if you can, but you retain final approval of the changes.
Once your managers are aware of the content and have started on the editing, then inform the employees of the manual and its broad contents. Once you have a final version for your workplace I would run a training session where you talk through all of the most important policies with your employees – almost like a new induction.
Make sure each person can access the manual – either electronically or through a printed copy in each work team. Set a realistic timeframe for them to read it and ask any questions – two weeks to a month is time I would give. If you leave it longer they won’t read it. If you leave it too short, you disadvantage some people.
Hold another meeting to answer any questions that may have come up, make any final edits and then a week later the manual comes into effect.