Set Expectations with Your Team from Day 1
In today’s episode: We discuss why it is critical that every business with employees has an employee manual. Setting expectations and informing new team members on day 1 is very important.
See show notes below or listen here
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 46 – Q & A: Do I Need an Employee Manual?
The Local Small Business Coach Podcast
Set Expectations with Your Team from Day 1
Welcome to another Question Friday. Today we are going to dive into a question from Jill, who is asking about an Employee Manual and if she needs one for her business. So let’s dive in…
Here is Jill’s Question: I am opening a new brick-and-mortar business and I have a question. Since I will be hiring 5 employees, I am wondering if I should have an employee manual? I’ve researched this and I’ve seen people build a case both ways. I have been very busy and I’m not even sure if I have the time to put this together. I would love to hear your thoughts. Jill
Hey, Jill, great question! Too often people do not think about doing an employee manual. I think this happens because when people think of an employee manual, they tend to think of those big three-ring binders they probably saw when they worked for Corporate America or some larger company. However, your employee manual can be as simple as 15 pages. The key is to focus on the core information that your employees need to know.
For example, in the employee manual that I put together for my employees when I had my shop, had around 12 – 15 pages. I actually called mine an Orientation Handbook that they were required to read that first day.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR EMPLOYEE MANUAL
I put in a little bit of who I was and some information about my company. I tried to explain the difference between my LLC, who would be on their paycheck, and the national brand name that they would tell their friends they work for.
I also went into the various things they needed to know about the store. Some examples would be I would let them know what the sick policy was, what the schedule policy was, and I told them what the employee breaks policy was. I went over the discount program for them and their family members and that giving away product was stealing.
Since I had a food-based business, I let them know that they could have to eat on their breaks. Yes, I let them have an ice cream treat each shift but made sure to control what that was. My main goal was to let them get sick of ice cream and after about a month, they didn’t eat ice cream for a few more months. J Another franchisee taught me this trick and darn if it didn’t work.
Some other key areas I made sure to cover was the uniform expectations, dress code if you don’t have uniforms, I covered the appearance and hygiene expectations. For example, their hair pulled back, washing their hands, no visible body piercings and no offensive tattoos for example. I reminded them we had a business with kids and families and the image we wanted to portray. Plus, some items the franchise required.
I also wanted to make sure they understood my expectations on their conduct when at the store both on and off the clock. That I would not tolerate any inappropriate behavior towards others. For example foul language, rough play or sitting on the counters. There was a section on discrimination and harassment and how they were to treat others.
I had a section on customer service and expectations of making it the guests best part of their day. By going over the basics, I knew they always had a reference to those expectations. Plus I covered how to handle an upset customer and what wouldn’t be tolerated.
There was a section on safety and how to handle an injury. This is in addition to the safety plan all stores should have. So just a quick highlight.
FUTURE REFERENCE FOR EMPLOYEES
Jill, I think you get the point, the important thing about an employee manual is that they have a reference for the future. The way I handled this was, they had to read the employee manual during their first week and then I would have them sign the last page. That I would then put in their file and then I had a fresh copy that would hang in the little employee area so this way if they ever had a question while I was not there they could take it off the wall and review it. By having it on the wall by where they took their breaks, they read like that cereal box we read over and over.
They also would be the first to tell me when I needed to make changes to the policy because it no longer matched what I was currently telling them.
Remember, the manual doesn’t have to be huge. Most of it was a good size font to make it easy to read and scan-able like I knew they would. The key was the headers. You do not want it to have little tiny writing. See if you can slip in some pictures. Remember most people do not have the attention span. So make it fun if you can. For example, in mine, I inserted pictures of ice cream.
As you can tell I am a big fan of using an employee manual. I just think that it sets the tone early on that this is a Professional Organization. You want to set the ground rules for the business early on.
GET FREE TEMPLATE
I’ll tell you what, in the show notes, I will include a template that you can use if you want, for your employee manual. I put this together for my start a local small business training course and it is one of the handouts that I give people as part of the course. But for everybody on this call who is thinking about adding an employee manual you can have access to it. CLICK FOR EMPLOYEE MANUAL TEMPLATE
By the way, even if you have been in business for a while if you do not have an employee manual I hig hly recommend that you put one together. It is a great way for people to know what your expectations are at all times. Even if it is too late for your current employees I am going to assume that you will be hiring other employees in the future. So really, it is never too late.
DISCIPLINE & REVIEW POLICY
Another great thing to include in your employee manual is what your disciplinary process is. Also when they can expect to receive reviews. If for example, you do annual reviews every 6 months, you want to put that in there. It will hold you accountable to doing it. Trust me, they will remind you. You will have the best intentions but business gets in the way.
Trust me if you put this in your employee manual, employees will come to you and remind you that they have a review that is due. If you are worried that they will expect a raise each time, you can put a clause in there that states it is informational review to provide direction and to set a game plan. But not necessarily a monetary review. This way if you are giving out increases, you can, however it, also gives you the opportunity to give out money to those that deserve it. I do encourage you to do annual increases at a minimum and use a 6-month check in to let them know how they are progressing. And if you have Superstars you can give them a raise midyear just as a thank you.
TIME TO WRAP UP
I am going to wrap up this question. As usual you guys come through with a great topic. Thanks again to Jill for the question.
By the way, if anyone out there is thinking of starting a new local small business, head over the website StartALlocalSmallBusiness.com. I do have some resources for you to get going. There is also a free mini course that will walk you through what you can expect. A bunch of free stuff, but if you are looking to dive in deeper, there is a $49 paid course as well. And if you use the coupon code podcast at checkout you will save 25% . This course has not only 13 modules to get you going with 50 videos, you also will have 13 downloadable workbooks and worksheets to help get you going including this employee manual that I will be giving you all for free in the show notes. So it’s a great tool for you if you are starting a new business.
Once again thank you for the question I hope all of you will reach out if you have a question in your small business. I love hearing from you and I love being able to share with everybody any tools, tips, resources, and Best Practices that will help. Remember, there are no dumb questions. If you are wondering it, odds are there are others doing so as well.
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
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Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
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