8 Must Haves In Company Handbooks
Contributed by Double A Solutions.
One of the best ways to communicate policy and culture is through a cleaning company handbook. Here are some ideas to make yours the best it can be.
If you already have a cleaning company handbook, you’re off to a great start. Handbooks give employees access to valuable information about your company, your expectations, and the culture you hope to promote amongst your teams.
But pick up pretty much any cleaning company handbook, and you’ll find it’s probably light on information. Writing a handbook is difficult for most businesses, especially if getting help from outside legal counsel isn’t an option. Maybe you’ve touched on some of the basics — legal disclaimers, harassment and drug policies, hours of operations — but there’s so much more you can cover, depending on how long you want your handbook to be.
In addition to the usual policies, regulations and guidelines you probably already have in your cleaning company handbook, here are some other things to include that employees will find helpful as you shape your company culture.
1. Mission statement
One of the best ways to establish a culture with a cleaning company handbook is to kick the whole thing off with a mission statement. Keep it concise, but detailed enough to communicate what you plan to achieve and which values tie into that plan. Mission statements are a foundation for building company culture and setting the tone for the daily work your employees perform. From here, there’s lots of room to expand out.
2. Company history
A brief section about the company history can also be helpful for employees. Not only does it give them insight as to how your business got where it is, but it also offers a snapshot of how the culture has evolved over the years. You can make this section fun as well as informative.
Consider including short stories or anecdotes from current or former employees (with their permission, of course) that highlight all of the great things about your company, or maybe even customer testimonials. The trick is to keep it to about one page without sacrificing the valuable parts of your company history.
3. Social media policy
Many businesses are starting to include social media policies in their handbooks. While you can’t outright control what people post or don’t post, you can make reasonable rules about what’s acceptable and what’s not when one of your employees is representing or referring to your business.
Employees should understand that even if they are posting personal things on personal accounts, their views and actions may still reflect on your company, so they should take care to make a clear delineation between their values and the values of your business. At the very least, they should know not to post anything about your business without prior approval from marketing or leadership first.
4. Letter from the owner
If you’re a small business owner, this may not be necessary as you’ve likely already met with your employees face-to-face. Still, an introduction from a company leader — the owner, general manager, human resources representative, or someone else — can be a great way to welcome new employees to your cleaning company handbook, while simultaneously building relationships with the people who will help make your company a success. It also helps break down the walls that sometimes exist (or are perceived to exist) between management and staff-level employees, nurturing a culture where everyone is treated equally, and no one is inaccessible.
5. Diversity and inclusion practices
As more businesses continue to focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives, the cleaning company handbook is a good place to outline your company’s D&I practices, as well as a general plan for how to keep your business both diverse and inclusive. This will go a long way in the cleaning industry, especially since cleaning teams often come from diverse backgrounds. No matter where someone comes from or what they do for a living, all of your employees should feel that they can be their authentic selves at work and that their backgrounds are respected — perhaps even celebrated if you want to go an extra mile!
6. Acknowledgement page
Going through all the trouble of creating a robust handbook won’t do much good if your employees don’t read it. This is where an acknowledgment page comes in handy.
At the end of the handbook, have a page with a simple statement, something along the lines of, “I [name] acknowledge that I have received and read this handbook, and that I understand all of the information contained herein. I understand this handbook does not create a contract or in any other way affect my at-will employment with the company.” Then have the employee sign the page and return it to you. This is an excellent way to measure who goes through the handbook on their own and who doesn’t. And even if someone doesn’t read it, if you have their acknowledgment, it’ll protect your business in the event of a conflict later.
7. Helpful tips and information
Getting back to the more lighthearted content, including a section of helpful tips and information in your cleaning company handbook can be very useful to employees. It will make them feel welcomed and cared for.
You might include things like favorite places to eat in the area, a list of emergency numbers and addresses for the nearest hospitals, information about janitorial associations like BSCAI and ISSA, and other interesting resources that might help new employees acclimate to their new jobs. Offering this information also gives all employees a centralized document for various useful resources related to their employment with you.
8. Company contacts
Finally, in addition to the helpful tips, consider ending with a page that shows the contact information for company management, if anyone wants to get in touch. Who you put in this section depends a lot on your internal processes and overall culture, but employees will appreciate having a handy resource to contact someone in management, should the need arise.
A company handbook won’t magically make your business perfect, but it can go a long way in setting the tone and sharing important information with your team.
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