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Company/Employee Handbook as Organisational Improvement Tool
by: Stephan Szugat
A business is only able to grow as fast as the internal organisation is able to process higher volumes of sales. But how to get an optimal internal organisation? Well, you will need to adapt your internal organisation over and over again. Itís a never ending story. However, a Company/Employee Handbook could assist you to achieve the best internal business organisation.

This brings up the question, What has to be included in a Company/Employee Handbook? Everything what has influence to your business operation. First of all, it has to be outlined which areas the Company/Employee Handbook will cover. As it has to do with internal operation, here is a list of items you should include:

- Company Background Information (Name-Development, Foundation date and place, History-Milestones, Vision)
- Owner and/or Manager Bios/Profiles
- Listing of Officers and Board of Directors
- Employment Roles (Job Roles, Job Descriptions)
- Description of the main products and services (just use your marketing material)
- FAQ (about internal subjects only)
- Company timeline (What, when, where)
- Office procedures (Workflow-Information, Working Procedures)
- List of persons to know (Bank Contact, Tax Advisor, Laywer, Main Suppliers, etc.)
- Overview of agreements (Rental, Leasing, etc.)
- Internal Policies (Dress code, Phone usage and answering, Voice Mail Procedure, Parking,
Business Cards, Drug Policy, etc.).

The above list shows which information should be included. The following list shows which departments should be included:

- Distribution
- Inventory/Warehouse
- Marketing (How Follow-upís are handled, Lead-Generation, etc.)
- Customer Support
- Research and Development
- Accounting
- Human Resources
- Purchase/Procurement.

The above two lists just show, how complex it could be to setup a Company/Employee Handbook. But it donít have to be complex, just start partial. Only include the information which are already available and use the help of your employees. The benefits of having a Company Handbook are numerous, your employees will save time, it will be easier to improve procedures, because the procedures will be broken down into small sections of the whole precodures. Everything is clearly described, so nobody needs to ask over and over again. In case of holiday or illness of an employee, others could jump into the job, because they could be trained faster.

As employer, you could hire employees with lower education. And your employees will love it, because they know where to look, when they have questions and they could improve their working environment as well. But the most advantage for the owner is, that the organisation will be able to work properly, when the business grows and when the owner might sell the business one day, it might get sold easier, because of the proper organisation.

When installing a Company Handbook, you will find procedures you could automate. Automating the operation as much as possible will also be a big benefit, because employees and employer are able to focus their workforce on more important topics, such as improving the sales volume. Furthermore automatization will reduce to cost of operation as well.

A Company/Employee Handbook is a bit like a Business Plan, but far more detailed, because it will contain information on every internal procedure. Only the financial part of the business plan will not be included, but if you like you might include some financial information you like to share with your employees. As you describe your procedures just do it as a numeration or listing. The description donít have to be very well formed, itís just important that everyone who will read it, is able to understand what has to be done.

Remember, a Company Handbook is a living system, if you and your employees are not updating it regularly, it will be death one day, because it will only contain old stuff. So keep all people within your business engaged in improving the Company Handbook, because it will improve your business internal organisation as well. While starting to write the content of your Company Handbook, concentrate on job roles at first, afterwards write down job descriptions, in case a job role has been given to employees twice (Accounting Staff, etc.). Job Roles need to include the duties and the responsebilities of the described job.

Job Roles, Job Descriptions and Workflow-Descriptions of sepcial procedures donít have to be the same, but take care that the information is consistent, that means that it is written in a stream. This way the entire Company Handbook will be of benefit for everyone. When rereading something on your Company Handbook and you still have questions, than the entry is not finished.

Last but not least, your Company/Employee Handbook should be available everytime. To do this, think about an Internet or Intranet Solution, depending on the size of your business. Keep it simple and slim, and you will have many benefits from it. Good Luck.

About the author:
Stephan Szugat is founder of abenetis a web-based service about Business Management Solutions. He has approx. 15 years experience in the Finance and Accounting Area from companies of different size and from various industries.

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