Wait, come back!
Dealing with these manuals is to business resolutions what cleaning out the garage is to personal resolutions: you know it needs doing because who knows what-all is in there by now, but it seems like such a tedious task and there are always more important things to do, and really, it’s not that important, anyway.
Until there’s some legal action involving your employees or candidates. (The garage equivalent is a leaking hot water heater or a trapped skunk.) Then, a clear, well-written, up-to-date manual becomes the most important thing standing between you and a horrible mess.
First, consider creating a mini-manual for your candidates:
Step 1: Make a list of everything you need candidates to know about staffing and working with your company. This could be your “pre-assignment” portion. It includes stuff like how to dress for an interview, how staffing works, how often they need to call in available, the best way to reach you, how your health insurance works (if you offer it), reminders to connect via social media, etc.
Step 2: Make a list of everything you need candidates to know once they’ve been assigned to a job. This includes safety, how to report injuries on the job, how worker’s compensation works, the level of professionalism that’s expected of them, how to do the best work possible, etc.
Step 3: Make a list of everything you need candidates to know after a job ends. This includes returning badges or uniforms, exit interviews, unemployment, updating their resume, etc.
Step 4: Write all of that up using the simplest language possible.
Step 5: Ask your legal counsel and some of your staffers to review it, and revise it as necessary.
Step 6: Make it accessible on the web or through a series of emails, or both. If it’s a really short document, you could print it out and make it part of your application pack. But having it online gives it a much better chance of actually being used.
Now, the employee manual for your staffers:
Step 1: Read your existing manual. If the thought of doing so makes you long for dental surgery, think of how your employees must feel about the manual. Now resolve to make it better and more accessible.
Step 2: Flag the parts that are no longer correct or out of date. Those can be corrected or simply deleted.
Step 3: Using the information you’ve learned in your SWOT analysis and metrics measurement, determine what crucial information and policies are currently lacking in your manual. Social media policies will probably comprise the bulk of the new info to fill in, as they’re the source of a lot of new legal precedents.
Step 4: Make a fairly detailed outline of your prospective revised manual, including the parts of the old one you’re keeping and the new stuff you’re adding. The outline helps ensure that there’s no overlap and that the sections of the manual make sense.
Step 5: Write it (or delegate or outsource someone to write it). Keep the language as simple and clear as possible. You’re not turning this in to your eighth-grade composition teacher, you’re hoping that people will get useful information out of it as quickly as possible. Write it to that purpose.
Step 6: Ask your legal counsel to review it and make sure it’s legally correct, comprehensive, clear and relatively bulletproof, then ask employees across the company to review it to make sure it’s easy to use and understand. Make revisions as necessary.
Step 7: Make it accessible online. Whether over a company intranet or via an interactive PDF, the best way to make sure your employees use the manual is to make it fast and easy to use, and that means links and clicks. Feel free to give everyone a hard copy, or assign one hard copy per department, but most of the use this manual will see is via electronic searches, and that’s as it should be.
Have we left out a step? Have any fun, wacky employee-manual stories to share? Let us know in the comments!