Learn What Types of Coffee Your Employees Are With an Operations Manual?

Aug 11, 2022

Your employees are all different and I’m gonna prove it with one simple question— how do each of your employees take their coffee? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Maybe John likes hot black coffee, but you saw the new hire, Cheryl, bring in one of those fancy frozen coffee drinks topped with whipped cream. Just like preferred drinks, everybody has different preferences and motivators to achieve the best possible working environment. But how would you keep track of all this?

*Cue the trumpet fanfare!

Today, you’re gonna learn about Operations Manuals and how to build one for your team. An operations manual is a bit like a car manual. Whether you’re up-to-date on the contents of your car’s manual, or it sits in your glovebox collecting dust until you need to know what that stupid blinking light on your dashboard means, we can all agree they’re essential to a car owner.

Operations manuals for your organization are the same. Business owners need to create one for each member of their team, so everybody knows how to best work with and communicate with their peers.

It also doesn’t have to be a boring field guide - there are lots of unique preference fields you can include that make it factual and fun!

You want to create a unique and strong company culture, so brandishing your operations manual with fields related to your specific industry or organization will help you stand out.

The ALL IN Company wants you to have the best employee-leader relationship possible. We’ll go through operations manuals and their details together (we could do without the hand-holding, though).

An operations manual is often a chart (think Excel) where your employees (and yourself!) are listed with space to record workplace preferences with the end goal of optimal efficiency. These "manuals" are shared with the entire team so each employee knows how to work best with their peers (and superiors).

Operations manuals can be a sheet of paper for employees to post on their wall, keep in their desk, or they can be an online shared spreadsheet and stored on each person’s desktop. The way to share the manual is based on your organization. Work-from-home companies obviously utilize the computer for this, but in-person offices may also deem online storage of their manual more efficient.

Operations Manuals are especially important if your employees are remote - it is a tool all can use to learn everyone's work and personal preferences. 

Now the fun part— customizing your Operations Manual.

You should always include general preference fields like…

  • Preferred Means of Communication: These will vary based on your organization (e.g., phone call, Slack, email…)
  • Birthday: An important personal milestone to record for every employee
  • Appreciation Language: Everybody has a preferred appreciation language, e.g., acts of service, quality time, monetary appreciation, extra time off for a show of appreciation, etc.
  • Dream Vacation: All of us have a dream about the perfect vacation in a special location.
  • Expertise: Employees list what work-based jobs/activities they consider themselves to be experts. This helps other team members if they need help with something not in their wheelhouse. (e.g., if an employee needs help building a PowerPoint, they can check the operations manual to find a peer who has expertise in PowerPoint).

There are also lots of fun and unique preference fields you can include based upon your company culture and field of work like…

  • Spirit Animal: Many folks already have a spirit animal picked out
  • Type of [Blank]: Ideas include type of pasta, type of dog, etc.
  • Favorite Color: Good idea for picking out birthday gifts!
  • Favorite Band: Another way to explore interests in and out of the workplace

Having your staff complete an operations manual is an easy way to get everybody in the organization on the same page, plus it helps everyone get to know and understand their peers better.  For example, if Pat knows from day one Chelsea hates long emails and prefers face-to-face meetings, conflicts and awkward friction can easily be avoided, and your team will become a force to be reckoned with. 

Remember, always refer to the Operations Manual when offering Kudos and Recognition, when creating team projects, and before giving employee feedback!