I am just curious if anyone uses employee hand books? I basically have a brand new crew only 1 original crew member who is family so she will be around. But I am having an issue with new employees not remembering everything I tell them when hired or cant remember the dress code or wanting to follow rules set in place.

I am also having a hard time with training; as our shop is in a very small town with a small hiring pool of no experience. What is the best way to get new employees to understand the importance of being a barista? How to get them to speed up and make great drinks? What methods to others use? I currently have all my employees signed up with online training but having a hard time getting them to actually do this most just log in and tell me yup I signed in I'm good now and know it all.  I need some advice; I feel like I'm at a dead end.


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Employee handbooks are key to managing your staff.  I strongly encourage having a hand book with all of your company policies and procedures. At the back of the handbook, have an agreement that the employee signs and dates showing they've read and understand the policies.  This holds you both accountable; it shows you've communicated the policies and your employee has read them.

Regarding training, I'd encourage you to give your staff a couple of requirements:

1.  They must complete the online training before they are allowed a bar shift.

2.  They are given a distinct timeframe in which to finish the training.

If they don't complete it, you write them up.  If they still don't complete it, consider getting rid of the employee.  I'm curious about your hiring; are you hiring people who fit your company culture, understand your mission statement, and have the same values?  Coffee can be taught, but if they're not taking it seriously and don't fit your culture, they might not be the right fit for the cafe.  Hope this helps, and best wishes!

Are there any good models of how to write a hand book? I have an old hand book from a business we took over but I don't really like how it's written.

I feel your pain as I have experienced what you are going throug.

I hired a consultant and the best advice was

1. Hire service oriented people only. Those, you invest your training in. The non service oriented people, it is one day and done.

2. Every day is training day. You have to be a drill seargeant. Repetition, repetition, repetition

There, other than the location report and traffic study, that is $2500 worth of advice

I think Jen is right- I know its a small town, but the most important thing you cant teach...ever...is passion. Passion for service and looking after customers can easily be channeled into a passion for becoming a great barista. A Handbook helps, but ultimately having the right people to start with is so important.

Good morning! I don't know that there's a perfect template to pull from on the web, but it should begin with your company mission and core values. From there, go through all company policies and procedures; from tardiness/absence to inclement weather to when payday is, etc.

Are there things you can take from your existing handbook? Maybe the structure? What are the reasons you dislike it? This could help direct you for how to make it better.

Thank you everyone!

Jen- We currently don't have a handbook but I've got an old one from our other shop that I could go from but just change somethings in it.

Gotcha. I misunderstood your message before. If it were me, I'd poke around the web for examples and try and pull together the most applicable things. Good luck!

there are actually a few really good examples online--look up coffee house employee handbook.....don't copy them, but certainly use them to customize your own. we have our new employees read and then sign the back page and return that signed page. does it insure anything? no, but it does show that we are taking it seriously-- just the first step.

We have task lists for opening, closing, stocking, etc that are all laminated with checkboxes to check off for every shift.  That makes it simple to hold people accountable to do their work.  If it's on the list and it didn't get done, then they didn't do their job.

For training, you may want to have a quiz or bar performance test that they have to complete before training is over.  We tell all new hires that training lasts until they are approved by a trainer to independently operate the bar, and they will not receive tips until that training period is over.  Sometimes that means that certain people will have to train for more shifts than others.  You owe it to them and yourself to make sure they are ready before they work on the bar.

Also, training isn't just for new employees.  Make sure you schedule enrichment classes for your baristas a couple of times a year.  Bring your employees to Coffee Fest, Latte Art Throwdowns or any event that can get them excited about coffee and socializing with other baristas.  We have Coffee Crawls about four times a year where we spend a day going to shop after shop trying their products.  They can talk to other baristas, try espressos, see what kinds of special products they serve.  Then get their feedback!  If they feel their opinions and creativity are valued, they are way more likely to invest in the vision of your business.

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