An Employee Training Manual’s Impact on Culture

An employee training manual is usually treated as just something a company has in order to walk your new employees through a company’s lessons and courses in what order and what each should contain. It can also be looked at as a necessity and resource for employees to refer to when they have questions.

The impact on a company culture of an employee training manual is easy to overlook. Every time an employee training manual is referenced, whether it is in onboarding or reference, your employees gain more insight into your cultural goal. Below are three ways your employee training manual is affecting your culture either positively or negatively:


Evaluate how you are talking about your customers when you are writing your customer service policies. Are you dealing with upset customers or are you resolving customer suggestions and troubleshooting issues? When you write your training and policies to treat customers like vagrants, vermin, and an inconvenience, that is exactly how your employees will treat them. Now, no one would intentionally put those words into a training manual, I hope, but phrasing has a great impact on your employees.


Everything in your employee training manual should be addressed with a positive attitude. Instead of telling people to talk to HR during different times of need, suggest that HR can help them out the best out of anyone in the office.

You may even have an attitude section of your employee training manual. Changing attitude after an employee is hired is not easy. It’s like reinflating my ‘95 Reebok Pumps after I crossed over Mitch last Friday on the YMCA court, it’s not going to happen. However, an attitude section serves as a great reminder of why you’ve hired the people you have.


Policies don’t equal culture, similar to how perks don’t create a great environment. As you discuss and evaluate your ideal culture, look through your policies to see if they encourage such behavior. If you want a great work-life balance for your employees, but you are mandating ten hours a day, two-week approval to show up late, two sick days every other year with three doctors’ notes, your policies may not match up with your culture.

I’m not suggesting you throw out all of your policies and just create anarchy in the office when you employ over 3,000 people; You just need to evaluate your policies in congruence with your ideal culture.

An employee training manual isn’t going to make or break your culture, but its impact on culture cannot be underestimated. It can show to the outside world as well as the inside world to how you treat your customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Image source: USAToday

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