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Employee contracts don’t have to be boring (we have proof).

How Tony's Chocoloney have rethought the employment contract and created what should be the benchmark. Here are our learnings in building one for ourselves.

Søren Vasø Hansen

Søren Vasø Hansen

Every single employee contract I have seen or signed has the same traits:

·      Difficult to understand
·      Boring to look at
·      A lot of rules to obey
·      Not written for the employee

And for most new hires, this is the first written impression they get. Are those the signals you want to send as a company to new hires? Difficult, boring, and rules-filled.

But contract looks like they do for one reason alone: Lawyers really don’t care about storytelling or brand.

Like, whatsoever.

But it doesn’t have to be like his. Imaging your contract made you stand out and made an impression of: now, that’s a place I want to work.

Luckily, we have trailblazers like Tony’s Chocolonely. Because that’s exactly what they have done. Create an employment contract that makes lawyers squirm and people smile.

And here it is in all its glory:

How to make your contract just as cool

We were inspired, so we have taken the journey for you and made our own.

And yes, the bar has been set high. But it’s rewarding to take on the quest to lure out difficult language and legal mambo-jambo for the sake of your people.

Here are some of the fundamental guidelines we wanted to follow with our version:

1.     Keep it simple (aka short)
2.     Make it understandable
3.     Make it feel like a new adventure
4.     It must be legal

Here is how ours ended up:

Aren’t you opening yourself up to a lot of disputes?

One of the things a regular contract avoids (most of the time) is disputes, because the language is so lawyer clear as it is.

But it’s also what’s keeping positive emotions from the table and replaces it with anxiety.

So, by being vaguer, you open you self-up to disputes. Like in our contract, it states, “Computer and home desk is made available”.

We don’t put a lot of energy into describing an amount you can spend or what kind of desk you get. We don’t even mention our headset, mousepad and all the others stuff.

Or “We encourage you to have a side hustle as entrepreneurship is a foundation of Acadal. Let’s discuss how it fits in. ”

Again, it’s not specific. What is a side hustle? How big can it be, can it be related, and a bunch of other questions are totally fair.

But it depends on so many things, so if the smallest nominator should decide, it would be worthless and rubbish in real life.

We don’t like rules. We like to motivate people.

Instead of filling our contract with rules, we use a lot of time building trust in the hiring process.

And we wanted our employee contract to reflect that.

Having high trust is always going to solve more disputes in the long run than any written rules.

We’ll probably run into some trouble we can’t agree upon down the road — but we believe that what we have gained by trusting each other and making it simple and enjoyable to join our team clearly outweighs that trouble.

Big props to Kristel Moedt and the lawyers of BvdV to make contracts more for people than business.

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