Documentation and Handbooks. Without documentation, no one can be held accountable, and rightfully so. Defining expectations is one of the key factors in creating a brand – something that your business is recognized immediately as being known to do. Are you the fastest, the best, or the cheapest at something? Those parameters all rely on how you run your business to match up with the image you project.
These key points should carry through all the way down to your employees doing those jobs that make what your business sells. Having well defined, obtainable goals and milestones for each and everyone in your business is critical to it’s success. Handbooks and agreements, and compliance with their requirements, are not possible unless they’re both written and maintained. A professional eye to detail is what’s needed to bring all of that out using the least amount of words. Succinct, accurate, understandable text are what differentiates a readable handbook and one that is not even used. Since these handbooks are what defines your business, time and effort spent on them is well placed.
High turnover costs a business more than just productivity – it is one of the sole reasons that a business fails.
When an employee leaves, you lose all of the skill and know-how that employee had, and more specifically the skill and know how that ran your business. That creates two issues. The first is that you lose the time it took to train that employee to do what you need, and all of the know-how that they gained while working. The second, and more critical, is that they are taking what they know and have acquired from your business and using it somewhere else – quite possibly at your competition. That hits a business twice as hard. The best way to eliminate this turnover is twofold.
- Create and maintain well written employee handbooks, describing the jobs and tasks of employment in non-tedious detail.
- Enforce the policies written in the handbook.
By doing those two simple things, and because of the expectations and understanding they create, a business will run more smoothly with much less of “I can’t” and much more of “I did”. Employees perform best in a well-defined environment. That doesn’t mean running a boot camp. It means ensuring that they know what’s expected of them, that what’s expected is attainable, and that in attaining those goals the business will succeed. That’s a lot of alignment to take for granted. That’s where well written handbooks really shine.
Compliance is not about getting to it, it’s about doing it.
Compliance starts with the understanding of the business owner and works through to the rest of the organization. It’s important to be compliant with regulations and requirements, every business owner knows that – but it’s not about why, it’s about how. And the how starts with documentation. If your documentation is correct, and your policies are enforced, compliance isn’t something that might happen, it’s a defined and achievable goal. It doesn’t have to be mysterious or difficult – it just has to be documented. Doing this simple task can save thousands of dollars in fines and other even worse consequences.