Shimbi Labs Employee Handbook - how and why are we doing it?

Posted on 04 Jan 2021 17:30 in Shimbi Insights
by Zainab Sohangpurwala

At Shimbi Labs, as we started hiring people remotely and onboarding them remotely for the first time, we begin feeling the need for an employee handbook. Here is how and why we are doing it?

No organization can run smoothly without some basic rules and common understanding. Hence many companies opt for drafting an employee handbook to avoid misunderstandings and issues. The employee handbook is useful in resolving many common problems within the organization.


What is an employee handbook?
An employee handbook is a document that communicates your organization's vision, mission, core values, policies, guidelines, and expectations. Employers give this to employees to clarify their rights and responsibilities while they're employed with the company.

It contains details from a code of conduct to benefits and perks to SOPs.


Did Shimbi Labs have an employee handbook?
Since the inception of ShimBi Labs 15 years ago, we did not have an employee handbook. According to the CEO and Founder of Shimbi Labs, Siddharth Deshmukh, we did not feel the need for a handbook.


The team was small, and we used to work together in an office. If a problem arose, it would solve by discussing it face to face. Everyone would have an open dialogue and ask for help, ask questions, and debate. In a small setup, everything would run smoothly.


But as the company grew, it became unmanageable. Once we reach 25-30 employees, and things got started getting of hand. There were much miscommunication and some sort of mess. 


Still, we tried to sort out things with fever policies and increased communication.


But as Shimbi Labs become a remote company since the last two years, and we started hiring and onboarding new people remotely, only communication has become insufficient. To avoid confusion and miscommunication, the need for an employee handbook grew.


Difference between working in the office and remotely
When a team is small and work under one roof, we personally know the employees. We understand each other. So, whenever they communicate with us, we understand their emotions, happiness, sadness, frustration, and the intent behind what they are saying. But as new employees are hired remotely, they are new and do not know the other employees personally. The newcomers become confused.


The difficulty of inducting new employees 
Inducting newcomers into the company is a difficult task. Making them understand the company's style of work is a task that becomes difficult without a handbook. 


Rajesh was one of the employees who was selected remotely. He even started working remotely but got the chance to visit Shimbi Labs office for a week during the ShimBi all meet. Rakshit was also hired remotely. He was a fine coder, but he couldn't understand the culture and workstyle.


To avoid such discomfort for other employees, We decided to draft an employee handbook.


What handbook should do? 
The handbook should help employees look for answers when someone is confused about what is right, what is not, what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.


For example, when you are working from the office, usually you have check-in and check-out time. Sure many do work overtime or come late too. But it clearly stated about working hours and attached consequences if not followed.


But that is not so clearly stated in case of work from home are many times conveniently ignored.  


When you work in an office and need leave for attending some function, you need to ask for a formal leave. If you work from home, you can easily accommodate your work and other commitments and adjust your working hours. 


But in doing so, you need to inform others so that it doesn't cause an inconvenience to others.


Suppose you delay and adjust your working hours due to commitments. In that case, you are not doing anything wrong, but if that causes inconvenience for others due to your miscommunication, it becomes an issue.


Hence the handbook will state everything clearly so that there are no confusion or gray areas for people to make excuses. 


What is the ShimBi Labs Employee Handbook?
ShimBi Labs handbook is all about employees. The main aim is 'we work in collaboration, not in isolation.' 


Hence it will help its employees to work themselves, and whenever they face any problems or challenges, they can refer to this handbook.This handbook will guide them on how they should act.

It will reflect the company's values and culture. ShimBi Labs' principal value is to deliver a quality product. We don't have a marketing team. The quality of the product itself will attract customers. 


We don't want our employees to become a slave of their work. We want them to enjoy their work.


Hence making a quality handbook is a priority. This handbook will not be an internal document. It will be widely published so that everyone can refer to it. Even other organizations can take inspiration from it.


Every prospective employee, after their selection, will be handed out a copy. Once they go through it and feel that they will adjust to the culture and work style, they can join ShimBi Labs. 


A handbook is becoming essential for every company. ShimBi Labs has started making one and includes each of its employees in the drafting of the handbook. Every Friday, a meeting is set up wherein all the details of the handbook are discussed. All the employees are open to ask questions or give suggestions. 


An ideal handbook must reflect the organization's culture and the opinion of every member.


Stay tuned; we will publish our handbook soon.


Does your organization have an employee handbook? How do you feel about it?


About the author

Zainab Sohangpurwala     
Passionate about helping companies grow their business via content marketing.

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