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Create a Useful (and Super Cool!) Employee Handbook: Part One of Three
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An employee handbook is often thought of as something only big businesses need.

Small gym businesses rarely worry about stuff as “corporate” as an employee handbook. But, when done properly, an employee handbook can be supremely useful.

It can remove the daunting nature of stuff like onboarding a new coach and helping new staff members acclimate to the box’s culture.A quality employee handbook makes the entire staff (whether it’s two people or thirty) more robust: everyone knows what to do (and who’s responsible for doing it), when to do it, how to do it, and why.

It eliminates questions like “how should we deal with walk-ins?” and “what’s our policy on discounts?” and “how should I request time off?” The answers to the most important box-related questions are all found in the handbook.

And if you’re still not convinced (although by now you probably should be!) that a handbook is necessary for your business, consider this: If you ever decide to sell your business, materials like a handbook will be essential for the sale—no one wants to buy a business where the wealth of knowledge can only be found between the ears of the owner.

Admittedly, the creation of a handbook is a pretty hefty endeavor. But if you break it down, if you take it “bird by bird” (as Anne Lamott reminds us to do), then in a few months from now, you’ll have a beautiful, useful, game-changing handbook.

Step One: What’s your why? Before you begin this project (and any project, for that matter) ask yourself why you’re doing this and what outcome you want.

For some box owners, this handbook will be what most employee handbooks are: A way to effectively and efficiently share expectations, and provide important employee info like benefits and pay.

For others, the handbook will be a means to acclimate a new employee to the box culture, a veritable users-guide to the box’s intangibles. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then, and only then, begin. (Important note: Spend time thinking about what the most challenging aspects of bringing on a new employee are, and make sure that your handbook solves for those challenges.

For example, if the toughest thing so far has been ensuring the box is closed up properly at night, include a robust “closing checklist” as part of the handbook.Now’s the time to meditate on all of the difficulties surrounding employee management and see if you can get in front of those problems via a super cool handbook!)

Step Two: Research other company’s employee handbooks Go online and see what other people are doing in terms of handbooks—no need to reinvent the wheel. How do they format their handbooks? What information do they include? How do they make them uniquely their own? What stands out as stuff you want to include in your handbook? What stands out as stuff you don’t think needs to be added?

To get you started, here are some employee handbooks definitely worth checking out: Valve, Zappos, Facebook, Austin Fraser, Element Three, EF Education First

Stay tuned for parts two and three of Create a Useful (And Super Cool!) Employee Handbook!

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