How to Create a Staff Manual 101
By: Shawn Joseph Gossman (TheAdminZone.com Moderator)
When I visit TheAdminZone.com, I see many posts from members asking other member to show off their Staff Manual so they can get ideas on how to make one. I thought it would not be good for someone to show off their manual because it could leak trade secrets about their community. So I decided that an article needs to be written on how to make a successful and accurate Staff Manual so that you wont have to copy from another forum's manual. I hope you all enjoy this article.
Why should I even have a manual?
There are many different reasons why you should have a staff article. The main reason is so when new staff come join the team, they will not be confused on what duties and jobs they need to perform. Another reason is so you can explain to your staff what exactly you want them to do and not to do as a staff member on your forum. You should post this staff manual in the staff area or section of your forum and make it a sticky/important/announcement topic so they can not miss it.
Having a Separate Manual vs. One Manual
The first thing you should consider is how many manuals you need. I am in the process of creating staff manuals myself, for my Weather forum. I plan to make two of them, one for Admins and one for Global Mods. Admins do different stuff than Global Mods and I figure it would be easier to make two manuals for each position. You should consider how many manuals you need. You can always use the same stuff in each manual and just add any additions you see fit to the manual of the position you are writing for.
The first contents: Policies and welcome statements
Your first contents should be the basic stuff. Include a welcome statement and manual overview explaining why you have written a manual for your staff. Then you should include your forum rules and explain them and how you want them enforced. You should also include any other policies you have so that staff read them and know what to enforce with them. Another thing I add in this section is a link to the forum software support forum I use so that staff can learn more about it and be able to fix things when I am not around or at least ask for support and forward the information to me. I also include a link to TheAdminZone.com in my manuals hoping my staff join to learn more about forum administration. This forum is a great tool to help make your staff into better staff plus you can have them link your forum in their signature giving you more promotion and making it look professional.
The second contents: Explanation of the ACP/MCP
This part is important! You should carefully explain the use and activities within the Admin Control Panel/Moderator Control Panel. Tell your staff how to use the features, any features to leave alone and special instructions of the settings and features for any added themes and modifications that you have installed. This is another reason why they should join your forum software support forum, so that they can get the look and feel of the software.
The third contents: Any special rules and what not
The last section of your manual should be about banning members and actions like that. You should also include any staff rules and your policies on leaves and vacations away from your forum. I would also suggest adding stuff about starting drama with other staff and how to handle that sort of thing.
I hope you enjoyed my article. You may copy it and/or publish it on your site/forum as long as you provide a link back to this article and keep my name as the credit exactly how I have it (even with the TheAdminZone bit). Please show your support, give suggestions, opinions and manual additions by replying to this article. Thank you for reading and have a very nice day!