Believe it or not, a written company policy handbook, which spells out behavioral expectations, can save your butt! And it does not matter how few employees you have.
Believe it or not, a written company policy handbook, which spells out behavioral expectations, can save your butt! And it does not matter how few employees you have. Even a very small company starting out with one, two or three employees needs to address this issue. I find it frustrating when I talk to owners that have our program – which includes a sample policy handbook, “didn’t think it was important.” DANGEROUS BUSINESS DECISION!

Now, I have seen policies and procedure handbooks that seem to rival the Affordable Heathcare Act in verbosity. The problem with a document like that is that your workers will be overwhelmed. Even if you sit and go through it with them, their eyes are likely to glaze over and they are unlikely to recall what they have been told. However, at the least your policy handbook should address the following topics:

  • A Brief Welcoming Message: We want our new employee to feel like she’s joining a family who cares.

  • The Employee’s Role in the Company: Over and above the Job Description, behavioral issues with respect to fellow employees, clients and management.,

  • Causes for Termination of Employment: There needs to be a list of all the performance issues over which her employment can be terminated. Two such causes are illustrated above: Sexual Harassment and Poor

  • Attendance. Actually, failing to have and enforce a sexual harassment policy could land you in deep legal doodoo!

  • Voluntary Separation by Employee: How can the employee leave on good terms of her own free will?

  • Job Abandonment by Employee: What actions determine that the employee has simply abandoned her job.

  • Unemployment Insurance: What manner of termination may decide an employee’s eligibility to collect unemployment insurance following termination.

  • Working Hours: The days and hours she is expected to be available to work.

  • Attendance and Punctuality: The disruption that poor attendance causes to her fellow coworkers, her clients and the company.

  • Illness and Family Emergencies: Your company’s policy on absences in either of these events.

  • Holidays and Scheduled Absences: The local, state or federal holidays on which your business will be closed and number of days and dates the employee can plan her vacation.

  • Workers Comp Insurance: How to apply for workers comp in the event of a workplace accident or illness. 

  • Remuneration and Pay Days: Clearly spelled out terms of your company’s compensation program and when she will receive her pay check. 

  • Social Security and Medicare: Unlike 1099 workers, she earns retirement benefits to which she contributes from her earnings and to which you contribute a like amount for her benefit.

  • Communications: The importance of good communications with you, the office personnel, her fellow coworkers and her clients.

  • Performance Reviews: You periodically conduct performance reviews with ALL employees in order to highlight her strengths and overall value to the company and identify where you can help her improve her performance.

  • Deficiency Notice: A written deficiency notice will be provided to her that will record behaviors and/or performance requiring correction.

  • Required Postings: She needs to see whatever state, provincial or federal posters you are required by law to display on your premises.

  • Personal Appearance and Dress: She is representing her company and therefore must comply with specific dress code you prescribe for all your employees. Personal Hygiene is also an important element of appearance. 

  • Parking at the Job Site: Almost nothing annoys a client more than coming home to find her driveway blocked.

  • At the Job Site: Conduct at the client’s property must at all times be professional and courteous and your expectations must be firmly spelled out.

  • Lunch and Coffee Breaks: Your policy on breaks needs to be spelled out, including what is paid and non-paid time.

  • Mistakes: It is natural for many employees to try to cover up mistakes, including damage to clients’ property. However, attempting to cover up mistakes only makes a bad thing worse.

  • Problems: Employees need to know if they encounter any workplace problems or circumstances which may negatively impact their work, they need to advise management.

  • Teamwork: Personal performance is imporant and will be recognized. However, when working with one or more other people, it needs to be “one for all and all for one.”

  • Ideas: Suggestions and ideas are always welcome. However, there is always a good reason for following the rule book so before trying something new, discuss it with her team leader or management.

You can view our customizable template model which addresses each of the above topics at  This is only 6 pages long. As we said, this and many other documents are customizable, allowing you to change, add or subtract language to suit your situation.

With 18 years in the cleaning industry and 45 years of experience building his own businesses, Gary Goranson was one of the first business consultants to serve the residential cleaning industry with real experience and solid credentials. Visit him at