What is a Personal User Manual?

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Written by: Hannah Karaman, LLUNA

“Burnout”, “Quiet quitting”, “Great Resignation”- we’ve all heard these buzz words as employers have struggled to retain employees in remote and hybrid work environments. As the corporate world has sought out ways to bring connection and retention to the distributed workforce, personal user manuals have come to light.

But what is a personal user manual?

A personal user manual is a document that describes an individual's personality, values, beliefs, and communication style.

Think of it as an instruction manual for a product (we all know those famous IKEA manuals!) but instead of providing information about how to operate a product, it provides everything you need to know about a person from their communication style to their favorite hobby (direct communication and thrifting for me!).

Research has shown that people who are able to effectively communicate their own personalities and needs are more likely to be satisfied in their relationships (and who wouldn’t want that!) These manuals provide a tool for partners to understand and appreciate each other's unique characteristics and needs.

In a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that individuals who were able to communicate their own personality traits to their partners had more positive perceptions of their relationships.

In addition to the benefits in relationships, personal user manuals can also be beneficial in the workplace.

A study published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management found that employees who were able to effectively communicate their personality and communication style to their managers and colleagues reported higher levels of job satisfaction and motivation.

Being able to truly understand your colleagues is crucial to success, as teams that can effectively communicate and connect with one another demonstrate a 56% higher level in job performance.

Despite these benefits, many people may be hesitant to create a personal user manual, as it can feel uncomfortable or narcissistic to document one's own personality and needs. However, it's important to remember that creating a personal user manual is not about boasting about oneself, but rather, providing a way for others to understand and interact with you more effectively. There’s nothing narcissistic about letting your coworkers know that you prefer not to check your email after 6pm or that working in coffee shops is where you feel the most motivated!

In her book, One Bold Move a Day, Shanna Hocking calls a personal user manual an “About Me.” She shares that creating one can build trust and clarity with team members. Hocking isn’t the only one convinced of the benefits. Darren Muph, Adam Grant, Abby Falik, Ben Dattner, and even Atlassian also tout the value of creating a personal user manual. LLUNA’s version, called a POP, makes creating a personal user’s manual fast, fun, and valuable for your day-to-day, while also being grounded in leading research and best practices for teams.

So, what do you think? Are personal user manuals the saving grace that remote and hybrid workers need? Wanna make one for yourself and find out?

Create your personal user manual for free here!


"The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates" by L. G. Tskhay and R. C. Gurung in Personality and Individual Differences

"Personality Trait Transparency and Relationship Quality" by Peter K. Jonason and Julie J. Exline in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

"Communicating personality and communication style in the workplace: An examination of employee job satisfaction and motivation" by E. Bruce Goldstein in the International Journal of Human Resource Management

“The Value of Belonging at Work: New Frontiers for Inclusion in 2021 and Beyond.” The Most Comprehensive Coaching Platform, BetterUp