Employee Handbooks in 3 Steps

Employee turnover is unavoidable in the restaurant industry, but you can make sure your onboarding process goes quickly and smoothly. Employee handbooks streamline new hire orientation. They also get more out of training and can use the guide as a reference point moving forward. Whether they start training today or in twenty years with entirely new management, guarantee equitable onboarding and inspire staff members to reach greater success from the jump.

You aim for retention. When you foster inter-workforce communication and lay out a clear plan during training, new hires will blend seamlessly into the rhythm of things.

new hire orientation

Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

The Guide to Employee Handbooks

Start off with a pleasant welcome note and thank them for their commitment. Don’t underestimate how important every single staff member is to your success. Acknowledging how they chose you over a competitor will bring your team closer together.

The opening pages are also a good place to reiterate your store’s history and mission statement, which set the tone of the establishment. While formatting is largely up to your discretion, it saves time to include a table of contents here, too. Then finish off the introduction with a legal disclaimer that the employee handbook is just a learning guide, not a binding contract.

Now it’s time to get to the meat.

1. Core Values

Establish what you’re all about as an employer early on. Core values shape your workplace culture, so this will tell them what it’s like to work for you. When they go in fully informed, they’re less likely to leave after an unexpectedly rough couple of months.

Perception reaches your customers too, not just prospective staff. If you’re a green company or have a particular dedication to workers’ rights, this will inform your reputation and brand association. Choose positive company values that connect to your mission statement somehow, to drive word-of-mouth in the right direction.

2. Workplace Behavior

Set down expectations regarding how employees conduct themselves on the job. From dress code to handling guest complaints, this is where to introduce rules that they can follow when stressful situations come up. It also holds them accountable; they can’t claim not to know proper procedure when you’ve preemptively laid out your harassment and conflict policies, suspendable or fireable offenses, and disciplinary procedures.

Aside from punishment, this section can also lay out what merits a reward. What benefits do they get by choosing to work here? Also break down payroll, vacation time, breaks, meals, etc. in this section. That way they’ll come in prepared.

3. Restaurant Systems

You can’t be around 24/7. Whether you’re working remotely, busy onsite a second location, or just up to your ears in an owner’s work, establishing strong restaurant systems takes the weight off your shoulders so you guarantee everything runs smoothly in your absence. Staff also know exactly what you expect out of each role and their time working there in general. They have plenty of time to ask questions before they hit the ground running, too.

Here’s where you would provide open and closing checklists and train them on your Point of Sale system so they’re up to date with the latest and greatest restaurant technology. Since they’ll use this book as a reference when they have questions in their first few weeks, thoroughness never hurts.

strong restaurant systems

Image by Martha Maria from Pixabay

Ending Employee Handbooks

How do you close out your how-to manual? Finish with another thank-you and reminder that this does not constitute a legal document. Regardless, it’s advisable to have them sign it as a gesture that they’ve read and understood the guide, and that they’re ready to start.

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