i3 - May/June 2020 - 39

Business
By Jake Sigal
A DV I C E FO R E N T R E P R E N E U RS

Your Company's Digital 'SOP' Handbook

 A 

friend of mine recently reviewed our Tome employee handbook, which we lovingly call "The Tome." Because these handbooks for small businesses tend to
involve a lot of copy and pasting of things related to the law and the workplace, I thought it would be cool to have a fellow entrepreneur - and someone I trust
- review ours. He also shared his own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). I am
using his constructive feedback to increase the value of the handbook for our team.

Here are the best tips, which are great
for any small business, from my friend
Bradley Hoos, chief growth officer at
The Outloud Group. I immediately
used these to update The Tome and
our staff loved it!
How often can you say that your
team loves anything in an employee
handbook?

Keep the
handbook digital

For some reason, I always
thought that an employee handbook had
to be printed as a snapshot in time. We
checked with legal and digital is fine. Now,
it's a Google document and we let our
team know when there are any changes
using the comment tool. It allows everyone to quickly search the document for
items, making it more useful than a stack
of paper collecting dust. It also saved time
printing and distributing the updates
every year. Digital handbooks for
the win.

Oleksandr Hruts/Getty Images

Explain what
good looks like
with examples

Setting the bar on a "Tome Pro"
look and feel was the biggest
change to our handbook. Being a
small business, many people on
the team send files to clients and
other team members, but they

C TA . t e c h / i 3

i3_0520_Business_AdviceForEntrepreneurs.indd 39

didn't always know what the company standards were. Previously, we had a template
in Google Docs for a few forms and how to
access them in a section of The Tome. Now,
we have direct links in our handbook, as
well as specific requirements. (e.g., always
send a PDF, unless a client specifically asks
for an editable document. You never know
what your non-PDF document is going to
look like on the receiving end.)

Include branding
guidelines in the SOP

For small businesses, include
brand guidelines such as where to find your
latest logo and what your colors are so your
team can brand-up all projects. Branding
goes beyond the art requirements and
includes best practices for things like grammar usage, what to wear and how to show
up to a meeting. At Tome, it means leaving

SOP

the laptop in your bag, your mobile phone in
your pocket and always bringing a notebook
and pen.

List all tools,
digital and other

Keeping a list in the handbook of
the IT tools for the staff is incredibly handy.
We listed all of our tools with links to download or access the software, as well as best
practice document links for each tool.
Typically, the documents that outline how we
use the tools are managed by a separate person on our team. This helps clear things up
for everyone, from new employees to senior
staff in the company. Also, tools change over
time and it's always good to brush up on best
practices. I also found this useful as a reference for annual disaster recovery planning.

Have new employees
review the SOP

The last tip I got from my friend
that keeps our handbook up to
date and easy to understand, is
having every new employee go
through our handbook and put in
comments about anything that
may be unclear. We also ask new
employees to provide the top
three things or policies they like
and the top three they would
want to change.

MAY/JUNE 2020

39

5/7/20 12:16 PM


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i3 - May/June 2020

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