John Eklund, Pro Mach

An Entire Employee Handbook On a Notecard

By John Eklund, Pro Mach | Permanent Link

They say that to succeed companies must chose what their value proposition will be. Is it to be the low cost leader? The customer service leader? Have the widest selection? Once you pick your value proposition it dictates all your future strategies, tactics, behaviors, etc. One company that excelled at this was Nordstrom. For many years new employees were given the New Employee Handbook that was merely a 5″ x 8″ gray card with 75 words that read:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

One rule: Use your best judgment in all situations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re going to excel at customer service you have to empower your employees to let them make decisions without getting caught up in bureaucracy. Get the right people in place and get out of their way. That’s how you deliver exceptional customer service. (Blog idea via 37signals).


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  1. Mark April 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Employers should also have employees sign something acknowledging that they have received an employee handbook, and this should be kept in their employee file. This still does not create a binding contract, but at least it gives an employer some leverage when an employee states they were not informed of policies, especially very common infractions such as, tardiness and absenteeism.

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