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Creating an Employee Handbook

E Column

An employee handbook is an important part of your training schedule. The handbook provides employees with a written guide to follow and refer to when they may have forgotten.

Creating an employee handbook can be a lot of work, which is why many businesses do not have a comprehensive handbook. My suggestion is that you write the handbook in small pieces. For example, a winery would write a one or two page summary of the vineyards and how the grapes are grown; another one or two pages can be dedicated to the information on how the wines are made, focusing on the information that will give customers facts they can take home with them. I start with these two things as most owners find these pages easy to write and you might as well start off with things that can be done quickly.

Next on the list, write a one-page mission, vision and overview of the company if you don’t already have that.

After that a one-two page basic job description detailing the duties of each the position in the company. For example sales and hospitality staff should be given information on the ins and outs of opening and closing, how to run the cash register, etc. You should also cover compensation, commissions, and how sales discounts work for customers.

General employee policies differ from state to state, but information should be readily available on government websites. Consider employee policies such as, attendance, benefits, vacation time, confidentiality, dress code, expectations, expense reporting (if applicable), work performance, discipline, and termination factors.

One of the most important parts of the employee handbook is the information about the Customer Experience you expect each of your employees to provide to your guests and customers. This information should be available to everyone in the company whether they regularly come into contact with the public or not.

When you ensure that your employees understand what your expectations are, you are more likely to have your expectation met. For an outline of a suggested table of contents for an employee handbook, drop me an email at E@inshortmarketing.com, and I will send one over to you.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE Column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.


1 Comment on "Creating an Employee Handbook"

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  1. Oh My Gawd – now I know why Marketing managers don’t ask me to write copy. This column is fraught with bad advice, and potential legal liabilities abound. An Employee Handbook is a cornerstone of the HR policies, and there are numerous legal requirements that, certainly for CA, you can’t afford to forget. Obviously, this article was never vetted by an attorney nor an HR expert.

    The best first step for small wineries is easy – go to CalChamber and download/modify their Handbook template. That will cover 90% of your issues for the cost of a CalChamber membership (like $300).

    Next, DO NOT put employee expectations in a handbook, except in the most general of terms. Definitely do capture and share expectations, just not in a handbook.

    The simple best advice is get some professional advice from an HR expert. There are plenty of practitioners around (some better than others) who can build the people systems you need to drive your business, all for a reasonable fee that you’ll recoup quickly.

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