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Corporate Commentary

Nobody Reads Your Employee Handbook. Here’s How to Create Internal Systems That Actually Get Used

When most people think about setting up systems and controls for their business, they think of a traditional employee handbook or manual. A central place to keep all the companies processes and procedures. You sit down and think about all the repetitive processes and write out the steps needed to complete each job to satisfaction. A few hours (or months later) and you have a pretty extensive library of procedures in your vault. And that’s when the trouble happens.

It collects dust.

Not only do your employees refuse to reference your procedures, but they will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again despite the clearly defined steps laid out in your procedure handbook.

In the past I have written extensively about how to get your team to use your systems and how to set them up correctly, so today I wanted to go over the most important steps you can take to create systems and controls that withstand the test of time (and actually get used!) 

  1. Give Your Team A Real Voice

When it comes to engaging your team and giving them a voice, the key is to let them create their own systems and controls. This idea is similar to the one that if you want your kids to eat healthy, get them involved in the kitchen. Teach them how to garden and grow their own food, and they will take ownership of the process and of the end result.

  1. Ask For Feedback

Everyone in the company can offer up their thoughts and feedback on the process. You can make it a habit to review the existing systems several times a year, giving new employees a chance to update the systems along the way. In fact, one of the best ways to really test your systems and controls is to hand over a process to someone new on your team and see how well they are able to follow the steps given their limited knowledge of the back end systems.

  • What do you like about the current system?
  • What is difficult or challenging?
  • What adjustments would you like to see?
  1. Train Your Staff On How To Find Information

A well thought out system is nothing, if your staff doesn’t know where to find the information when they need it. We encourage our coaching clients to set up a cloud based storage system and set up a naming convention that makes sense for their business and organizational structure. Once that is set in place, everyone in the company is trained on the organizational system and it becomes a part of the onboarding education as well.

  1. Acknowledge and Praise System Adopters

As you see your team members using their systems and seeing results, take the time to acknowledge their victories.

“You know Donna, we used to have an order error rate of 3%, but now that we have been using your new order packing process that rate has gone down to less than .5%. That is amazing! We are so much more efficient and our customers are really happy. Great job.” 

With these four tips, you can really begin to create a company culture that values its systems and controls and uses them to leverage growth.


Have you read?

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David Finkel
David Finkel is the CEO of Maui Mastermind, author of 11 business books including the bestseller Build a Business, Not a Job, and a respected business thinker. David is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.
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