What is the Cure for the Common Employee Headache?

Two Aspirin OR an Employee Handbook!

Do you have an employee handbook?  When was the last time it was updated or given to employees?  I know it is a bit time-consuming, but trust us, it is well worth your time and effort.

An employee handbook will not make you more money, but it will eliminate a lot of headaches. Most small business owners dislike dealing with employee issues. A handbook helps.

Why a Handbook is Helpful

  • An Employee Handbook Speaks for You. An employee handbook answers questions about things such as time off, dress codes, acceptable behavior and discipline policies, before they are even asked.
  • One Size Can Fit All. If your employee handbook is thorough enough, it isn’t necessary to have a separate handbook for each department. This can save you time, overall, in explaining policies and expectations from department to department.
  • Expectations are Clear. You should make sure that you have job descriptions and expectations for each position in the dealership, which feed into the policies outlined in the employee handbook.
  • You Establish Guidelines from Day One. Each new employee should be given the handbook before they start the job and expected to sign off on each page to show they have read and understand what the expectations of the dealership are on the day that they start the job.
  • You Can Modify Behavior and Expectations Annually. Each year you should review your handbook, make changes based upon behavior you want to encourage or change, and update the handbook accordingly. Then, present employees with the new or revised handbook. At the time the employees are given the updated handbook, they should be asked to sign off on the changes, and are then held accountable to standards outlined in the handbook.

Handbook Contents

Below is a suggested outline for an employee handbook. It can be expanded upon or simplified to better reflect the goals of your dealership.

  1. Brief Welcome
  2. Company History & Mission Statement
  3. Company Overview

In the company overview, there should be an explanation for what the handbook is designed to do and what actions will be taken if the guidelines aren’t followed.

Outline what the employee can expect of the company and what the company in turn expects from them. Lastly, explain that the customers are the root of any business success and should be treated as such.

  1. Employment Policies

The Employment Policies section explains how employee conduct should mirror the beliefs of the company. Explanations of suitable and unsuitable behavior and appearance are outlined, as well as consequences.

  1. Hiring & Terminations

Explain employment laws and agreements as well as specific job descriptions in this section. Doing a thorough job of explaining job duties, schedules and attendance policies will leave little room for dispute when and employee underperforms.

  1. Benefits & Time-Off

A full explanation of benefits and attendance policy should be outlined here. Eligible employees should receive a booklet further describing insurance coverage. Attendance policies, holidays, vacation, and sick or leave of absences, and how they relate to pay, should also be highlighted.

  1. Compensation & Performance 

Employees will likely show the most interest in this part of the handbook. Outline when the pay period at your dealership begins and ends, and whether it is weekly or biweekly. Also mention changes in compensation due to performance or incentive programs.

     8. Business Tools

Outline for employees when it is suitable to use the business phone or their own personal cell phone. Think about how this impacts your profitability and customer satisfaction. Employees may need training on phone etiquette and usage of the business management system (BMS).

  1. Safety

Keeping employees and customers safe should be a priority. Outline the dealership’s rules for safety and be sure each employee understands why these rules are important. Expectations for employee conduct towards each other should also be summarized.

  1. Closing

The closing section of the employee handbook is the best place to offer employees a chance to address any questions or concerns they may have.

  1. Employee Acknowledgement Form

Once you have gone through the employee handbook with them, the employees should sign a sheet formally acknowledging their understanding of the rules within. This process should be done the first day on the job, before any work is completed.

It may seem like a lot of work to create an employee handbook, but once it is in writing it can be easily updated as needed in minutes. Having one can save you a lot of time and headaches in the end.

If you need some assistance with your employee handbook or creating job descriptions, check out the templates provided in the BCI Toolbox.  In addition, there are many other helpful management tools that will save you time and headaches!  https://www.bobclements.com/dealer-tools/

Bob Clements

About Bob Clements

Bob is the president of Bob Clements International Inc., a training and development company specializing in creating high performance dealerships and organizations. BCI works hands-on with dealers and manufacturers through on-site visits, Dealer Success Groups©, management and sales boot camps, webinars and speaking events. Bob is also the author of the book, “The 8 Greatest Sales Secrets in the World” and a contributing writer for Rural Lifestyle Dealer Magazine. Over the last 30 years, Bob has spoken to thousands of owners, sales people and businesses, giving them the tools they need to achieve personal and financial freedom. His organization and his leading edge development packages have helped to improve dealerships across America.