Advice Offered On Developing Corporate Policy Manuals
Corporate policy manuals are necessary even if a kitchen and bath retail firm has only a single employee, although these are often not created or implemented by business owners.
That, according to the Houston-based Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG), is a management practice that can be corrected. At its recent Spring 2004 meeting in Phoenix, BKBG educators provided some guidelines for developing policy manuals. Among them were the following:
- Job descriptions should be created and included for every
position within a business.
Specify what the company expects regarding sick days, vacation, personal days, funeral leave, personal leave, and maternity leave. (For example, funeral leave should be explicitly worded to explain for whom leave would be granted.) Employers need to check both local and state rules regarding jury duty leave.
- Paid holidays should be explicitly acknowledged, especially
regarding three-day holiday weekends. Set a policy regarding
whether an employee must be present the day before and/or after a
holiday in order to be compensated. This should be updated
annually, as the dates for holidays change.
- Reimbursement policies should be spelled out regarding
schooling and/or training for the employee.
- A policy should be created and detailed regarding an employee
purchase of company products. Be sure to include discount amounts.
Specify who in the employee's family is eligible for discounted
purchases and the number of times the discount can be used in a
given period of time.
- Include a policy on "removed products" from a customer's job
site. Create guidelines that are fair for all company employees to
have the opportunity to bid on the purchase of removed
- A policy should spell out company safety standards, equipment
usage, the reporting of injuries and related safety matters.
- The company termination and exit interview procedures should be
detailed, including guidelines for the retrieval of company-owned
property such as credit cards, autos, keys, passwords, security
entrance cards, parking passes and the like.
- Part-time employees' benefits should be detailed, and should
adhere to state laws and guidelines.
Policy manuals, lastly, should be reviewed annually by business owners and their attorneys, and should include a page noting acceptance of the manual, to be signed by the employee.
For additional information on creating a policy manual, BKBG recommends "Employee Policies on Disk." It can be found at www.adwizards.com/epm/epm5_contents.htm, and is available for $200. Policy manual information can also be found on-line by using www.google.com and typing in "policy manuals" on the search line.Kitchen and bath retail professionals should familiarize With all the importance put on branding these days, it appears that "face time" is the new name of the marketing game.
That, according to the Houston-based Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG), is the fastest and best way to drum up business and increase sales.
Specifically, BKBG advises that dealers take every opportunity available to make their firm name more visible from making sure that the company's name is seen on company vehicles and signage, to participating in local and regional home shows.
Of course, if opportunities do not present themselves, dealers can also take the initiative, BKBG points out.
Following are some suggestions BKBG offers to help dealers create their own powerful marketing strategies:
- Consider offering consumer seminars a few times a year. For
instance, you can speak to consumers about the ins and outs of
purchasing kitchen and bath products or an entire a kitchen or
bath. These seminars will not only create good will among potential
clients, since you've supplied them with much-valued information,
it will also entice them to enter the showroom and lead you that
much closer to making a sale. After all, people aren't buying just
the product they're buying your name, too.
- Attend local and regional home shows through the Home Builders
Association (HBA). Can you really afford not to have access to
50,000 people in four or five days?
- Affiliate your company with the local television or radio
station, perhaps even offering to have compatible shows filmed at
your showroom. And, don't forget to advertise.
- Consider contacting local colleges or universities and propose
initiating a class regarding the kitchen and bath industry. This
might cover such areas as purchasing details, financing, how to
pick a design or designer or installation issues.
- Be flexible and available. For instance, be willing to meet
with clients after hours, if necessary. Likewise, be willing to
walk potential customers through the showroom, answering questions
as you go, rather than just waiting for them to come to you with
BKBG adds that these simple marketing ideas can work very effectively regardless of the size and scope of your business.