When is the last time you looked over your operations manual?
Does it reflect changes you’ve made to be more efficient since you opened, or instructions on whether or not your business is entitled to share employee tips? What about your training manual? Does it include the new language you want every employee who interacts with a customer to say?
If your answer is “I don’t know” or “no,” then you’ve got some work to do. While the majority of content in your manuals is still spot-on and in line with your business goals, most likely there are some important changes and updates that need to be documented.
Your manuals are meant to be used and referred to frequently. If not, then why invest all of the time and money to create them in the first place? We’ve got some tips and questions below to help you keep your manuals and other business documents current and useful.
How do you know you need an update?
1. You get lots of questions from your franchisees on topics that are in the manual or should be in the manual. An Operations Manual or Training Manual should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. If the information is there but is hard to find, then a re-structure of the documents might be in order. If the information you’re getting questions on isn’t there, it’s time to add it.
2. Your brand has a technology update. If you have a new POS system, new online ordering component, or are utilizing a new social media platform, it’s time to update your documents to reflect that.
3. Your policies and procedures are outdated. Do you have a new menu item recipe or retail display that needs a standard procedure? Do you need to add an addendum to comply with local health and safety laws? Does one of your franchisees have a best practice that you’d like to implement system-wide?
4. Your documents haven’t been updated in a few years. If it’s been more than three years since your materials have been updated, it’s time to re-visit them. There are so many changes in technology, equipment, and the way people consume information. Make sure your users are able to easily access the documents they need.
What should you do now?
1. Review the Table of Contents of your manuals. Are there topics you no longer need or are missing? If your TOC is really long, consider breaking up your manual into easier-to-consume, smaller documents.
2. Ask for feedback. Talk to your franchise partners and employees to find out what documentation is useful and what’s not. What can be improved? What is the ideal way for users to access the information?
3. Check that your brand is communicated. Make sure your brand culture, vision, and mission are clearly stated in your manuals. All team members need to have a consistent understanding of what makes them and the brand successful.
If you need help making updates or want an easier-to-use manual format, let us help. Our Manual Bootcamps can make updating our manuals quicker and easier, or we can work remotely to ensure that you have everything you need.