Employee Training Manuals

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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All too often, owners and managers make foolish assumptions about their latest hires that they later come to regret. The "perfect" candidate comes through your door with 10 years of experience at your biggest rival's company, where you imagine operations are conducted in an identical fashion, and you have every confidence that he or she already understands your procedures. A week later you're on the phone doing serious damage control with a valued client who's up in arms about a botched job you've just sent out. Worse still, all signs indicate that it's your new employee's fault.

Did your perfect hire deliberately set out to sabotage you? Is he or she possibly a spy who's pretending to defect, then return to your competitor with all your closely guarded secrets? Probably not. More likely, you simply failed to instruct your new recruit on how things are done in your house. And, after 10 years at your competitor's office, it's no wonder your new hire must be de-programmed or untrained to work the way that he or she used to.

Making Assumptions

The best way to forestall such crises is to leave nothing open to interpretation. While you mustn't necessarily reinvent the wheel, you should take all reasonable steps to lay out your rules and expectations in your training manuals. Your new hires may already know how to do A, B, and C; now you must teach them that at your office C comes first, then B, followed by A, even if that's not what they're accustomed to doing.

Feel free to stuff your employee training manual with anything that might be deemed relevant to you, your workers, and your company. In addition to operational procedures, you may wish to incorporate a code of ethics, a corporate vision, or other useful features that aren't necessarily "Important" with a capital I. By showing your sense of humor (in the right places, naturally), you may help establish better rapport with your employees and give them a measure of trust that ends up paying huge dividends in productivity.

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