Posts Tagged ‘Employee handbook’

In 1971 I was 19 years old and freshly promoted into my first management job – assistant manager of the band and orchestra department at Jenkins Music Company.  To this day, I’m not sure exactly what it was I was supposed to manage, because I was clearly the lowest ranking employee in the building.

No Trouble

On the first day of my management career I was called into Jess Coulson’s office.  Jess was my boss’s boss.  He was a compelling, charismatic guy.  He had a huge mane of silver hair and a twinkle in his eye that told you he knew the secret and he just might let you in on it.  Jess smoked cigarettes nonstop, he drank bourbon and milk pretty much all day long and he told the greatest musician stories a kid like me had ever heard.  I was in awe.  So when he called me into his office I was nervous and excited.  Here’s what happened:

He was on the phone when I walked in and his chair was swung around so he was looking out the window.  All I could see was a cloud of smoke swirling around the top of his head.  He spun around, stood up and shook my hand and said,

“Congratulations, Kid – you’re in management now!”

He grinned and his eyes sparkled and I’m sure I stood up just a little straighter.  He looked away for a moment like he was lost in thought and then he turned and locked in on me like I was the only person in the world.  He said,

“Kid, the big guy wants three things and only three things.”

I wasn’t exactly sure who the big guy was but it didn’t seem like a good time to ask so I just stood there.

“The big guy wants high productivity, low costs and No Trouble.  You got that?”

High productivity, low costs and No Trouble.  I got it.

“That’s good, Kid.  Now get out of here.”

I was in Jess Coulson’s office for a total of about 60 seconds.  But in that 60 seconds he outlined the essence of HR.  High Productivity, Low Cost and No Trouble.  For business owners, that’s what HR is all about.

In the 40 years since I stood in Jess’s office, the No Trouble part has become increasingly difficult for employers.  Employment laws are more onerous and courts are significantly more sympathetic to employees’ claims than ever before.  For business owners, legal attacks by employees or former employees have become a serious concern.

The bad news is, there is no foolproof way to protect your business.  No matter what you do, there is still some risk associated with having employees.  But you can minimize that risk by creating an employee handbook.  An employee handbook is the centerpiece of an effective HR program.  It explains your company’s policies and procedures and it communicates your expectations to employees.  A good handbook also helps protect your company in the event of a dispute.

Now the good news – there is a quick and free way for you to create an employee handbook.

In less than 10 minutes and at absolutely no cost, you’ll have an employee handbook with the policies most small businesses need.  And that’s a huge step toward No Trouble!