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What to Put in an Employee Handbook?

What to put in an employee handbook is a question every cleaning business owner asks. Your employee handbook has your policies and should inspire your house cleaning training.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says every cleaning employee needs an employee handbook. And if you include these things, you’ll avoid common mistakes.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

How do you create an employee handbook guide for your cleaning employees? That’s a great question, and we’re going to talk about that today.

How Do I Create an Employee Handbook?

Employee Handbook Guide, Employee HandbookAll right. So today’s question comes from a house cleaner who wants to create an employee handbook. She wants to know the best and easiest way to do that. Also, she doesn’t know what information she should include in her handbook.

All right. This is a great question. How do you create an employee handbook guide? Well, there are a variety of different things that you can put in it, and I’m going to knock them out one by one.

Your Employee Handbook Should Reflect Your Company

Now I could sit down and create an employee handbook for you, but then you would be running my company and not yours.

Every company is specific to its individual owner, where you live and its culture. So, I encourage you to create your own employee handbook. But there are some basic things that you want to include.

A Mission Statement

Employee Handbook Guide, Mission StatementAll right. The first thing that you want to do is, you want to create a mission statement. What does your company believe?

Now in my company, I believe that everyone deserves to live in a clean house. Because I believe that, we jump through hoops to provide that for our customers. That is what I believe and that is my company culture mission statement.

What is your mission statement?

Employment Policies

The next thing that you want to include is your general employment policies. So, if you’re hiring somebody, what can they expect when they come to work for your company? What do you expect from them on the job?

And so, you’ll do a little break down of what the job involves. Because if they don’t know what you expect from them, it’s going to be hard for them to deliver.

Training

Employee Handbook Guide, TrainingWhat type of house cleaner training will you provide, and at what point should they have completed it? If they don’t know that, how will they know when training will be over?

You want to create a specific training program and an end date. On this day you graduate from the training program, and you’re ready to go out and clean a house by yourself. That way they know, “Hey, I graduated! I’m now certified, or now I’m trained to do this job.” This gives them the confidence to know they are doing their job the right way.

Smoking and Drug Policies

Employee Handbook Guide, Cigarette in AshtrayWhat are your smoking policies? Do you allow smoking? Or is your company nonsmoking? Are you allowed to smoke at customer’s houses, or are you allowed so many smoking breaks? What is your smoking policy?

What is your drug or no drug policy? Do you allow medical marijuana? Do you allow them to have alcohol in their system if they’re not legally drunk? What are your rules?

Along with the no drug policy, you may want to include an immediate drug test after an injury that happens at work.

Internet Rules

Employee Handbook Guide, Man Working on LaptopWhat are the rules in your company for internet access? Do you provide internet access every day, so your employees can check their email? Or so they can get online and check their schedules for the day?

What is the policy? Or do you just assume that everyone has internet access on their phone? Also, are they allowed to use their phones during work hours? So, what is your internet policy?

Along with that, what about email? Are they required to have a company email, and are they required to check it so often? You want to make sure that’s in your employee handbook. If you’re sending regular emails, and other company information, they need to check it.

Texting and Phone Calls

Employee Handbook Guide, Texting and Phone CallsAre texting and phone calls allowed while you’re working, and under what circumstances? What about emergency calls? Are they allowed to chitchat with one earbud in while they’re cleaning? You need to know. It’s different for every company. So, what are your policies for phone and text messages on the job?

Employee Records

Employee Handbook Guide, Employee FilesHow do you keep your employee records? You need to specify this in your employee handbook. You can say, “We keep a file on file for every employee. Every time that we have a meeting, you will sign off on the new rules and regulations. That will go inside your employee file.” So they need to know that you keep one, and they need to know what’s inside.

Payroll

Employee Handbook Guide, Payroll PracticesPayroll practices, when do you get paid? How much do you get paid? How much taxes will they take out? Is this a 1099 or a W-2 situation? Are they an independent contractor or an employee? Now, if this is an employee, this goes in your employee handbook.

You’re going to make a version of this employee handbook for your independent contractors. The rules are going to be a little bit different. You need to specify how they’re getting paid.

Also, let them know when we pay. Do we pay overtime and sick days and leave days? What are the rules of leave of absence?

If you decide you’re going to leave for absence, how much notice do you need to give me as the boss? I will need to put it in the schedule and find a replacement for you.

So, there are a whole bunch of policies that surround that and you want to cover that in your employee handbook.

Anti-Discrimination Policies

Employee Handbook Guide, Harassment PoliciesAre you an equal opportunity employer, and if you are, what does that mean? Do you discriminate on age, or gender, or height? What are your rules and regulations?

In a perfect world, you would be an equal opportunity employer. There would be no discrimination. If you, as the employer, instill this belief, they need to do the same with their coworkers. That way, there’s not harassment and judging. You are creating your company culture.

Along with that, what are your harassment policies? If somebody is harassing someone else in the company, how are you going to deal with that? That includes everything from racism, bullying and sexual harassment. We even include insubordination and condescension in that. Those are forms of bullying. You need to address that harassment inside your employee manual. Then, everybody knows the expectations.

Benefits and Leave

Employee Handbook Guide, Benefits Leave Jury DutyFor example, if your employee comes to you and they have jury duty, you have to let them off work by law. If they have military leave, you have to let them go do their military leave and not fire them while they’re gone. They come back and they still have a job. So, you need to talk about leaves of absence and how that’s worked out inside your company.

You may also want to include wellness days and bereavement. There are things that we need to deal with in life, and you should address that in your employee handbook.

Dress Code

Employee Handbook Guide, Dress and Hygiene CodeWhat do you guys wear when you show up? And along with the dress code, might I add a hygiene code. This is going to include things like, Do you shower every day? Do you pull your hair back? What about makeup or earrings or long fingernails?

What is the policy for your particular company? I know some companies are strict because the image that they represent is part of the company brand. So, when you get a job at this company, you are part of the brand, and you have to fall in line with rules and regulations.

Employee Discipline

Employee Handbook Guide, RulesIf you break the rules, what happens? You need to be specific and spell it out. There needs to be some form of employee discipline. It can be a write-up system or a point system. It’s your choice.

But there needs to be some form of discipline. Otherwise, your employees will run amok with your company. Then, you’re left holding the bag saying, “Hey, I’ve lost control.” Right?

Social Media Policies

Employee Handbook Guide, Social Media PolicyAre your employees allowed to go on social media and talk about your company? Can they post before and after pictures of a client’s house? If a customer leaves a rating and review, and it may not be a favorable one, should they comment on that? What about blasting a customer on social media? Are they allowed to say negative things about your business on social media? What are your social media policies?

Social media policies are a new amendment to a lot of people’s employee handbook guide. But it needs to be there so that if somebody causes a mess, then your employee can say, “No, comment.” Or they tell them, “I’m not allowed to comment on this particular situation. If you have a problem, you can take it up with my boss. Here’s the name of my boss, here’s the phone number, please resolve it that way,” so they don’t get involved. That needs to be clear inside your employee handbook.

Forms You Need to Include in Your Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook Guide, Woman on ComputerThere should be forms inside your employee handbook for vacations and things like that.  They can fill out a vacation request form. So, they should turn that in according to the policy so you can find replacements for them.

Along with the request forms, there should also be other forms that are available to them. For example, injury forms. So if they get hurt on the job, they can immediately fill out an on-the-job injury form. They will get that signed by a doctor. You can give that to your attorney when you go through a disability or workers compensation claim. You need to fill that out immediately and know the legal requirements. So, you should have those forms available all the time.

Complaint Forms Also Need to be Available

And then also, you should have complaint forms. There are employees that don’t like to discuss their concerns. They will write it out on a piece of paper, and they can turn that in.

You should have some sort of an anonymous place where they can turn this in. Then, you can read them as the owner and say, “Oh, I’ve got four employees and one of them is unhappy about this. Okay, in our next meeting, let’s cover that.”

Meetings

Employee Handbook Guide, MeetingsOne of the things that you want to talk about in your employee handbook guide is when meetings take place. Do you have regular meetings? Do you have regular evaluations? And let them know upfront, so they can prepare for those. If they didn’t know that there’s a meeting Tuesday night, they might have their kid’s soccer game. They might not show up. So, if they’re expected to be there every Tuesday, it’s got to be in the employee handbook guide.

Another Recommendation for Your Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook Guide, Independent Contractor HandbookAnother thing I might recommend is two separate versions of this book. You need one for independent contractors and one for your employees. And you have to specify if it’s the independent contractor version. You have to specify so they are aware they are an independent contractor. They’ve filled out their W-9s or their 1099 payments. So, they understand this is not an employment contract, and the rules are different.

You cannot dictate what they wear. You can suggest hygiene and things like that, but you can’t dictate what they wear. You can’t dictate the car that they drive. There’s a bunch of stuff you can’t dictate. That’s why the handbook for contractors has to be different from the employee handbook.

One More Thing

There’s another thing. If it’s an employee or an independent contractor, you want to make sure they understand.  They need to know they have received the correct guide and read it, and agreed to the terms. Then they sign a form that says, “I have received it, I read it, I understand it, I will abide by these rules.” A copy of that goes inside their personnel files.

That’s How You Create an Employee Handbook

So that is how you create an employee handbook guide. If you need help creating one, we do have the power to create one as templates. You can just buy it from us and then fill in the blanks.

It is not something we’ve created. But, we could put something like that together for you, just as a guide, and then you could tweak it and make it your own. We could even make it available online so you just fill out the information and then hit print. Then, it goes inside a notebook.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. But your handbook does have to be legal because it’s one of the things that keeps everybody in your company on the same page.

You Should Create an Employee Handbook Now

So, if you don’t have one, I recommend that you create a handbook now before it’s too late. And if you’re just starting your business and you’re kind of slow, right now is the perfect time to create one. Now is the time to sit down and think through all those different elements in your head. Put the pieces together so that when you do hire somebody, you can go, “Boom! Here you go.”

All right. That’s it for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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Resources

The SHRM Essential Guide to Employment Law: A Handbook for HR Professionals, Managers, Businesses, and Organizations – https://amzn.to/2Xmhc9k

Customizable Employee Handbook for Small Businesses and HR Department: Added Feature- Employee Orientation Checklist – https://amzn.to/2LxOIlR

101 Costly HR Mistakes: and how to fix them before it’s too late! – https://amzn.to/2Jkurxr

The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals – https://amzn.to/2LtE0wV

Employer’s Legal Handbook, The: Manage Your Employees & Workplace Effectively – https://amzn.to/2RTaLod

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