Rules. Who Needs 'Em?

We were going to be different.

That's right. When we first started, we decided we were going to be the first cleaning company with a 'heart'.

We were determined to treat our cleaning associates with more than respect -we wanted to go the "extra mile".

You know, treat everyone like 'family'.

Well, in time, we discovered sometimes a cleaning business like a 'healthy' family has to practice some 'tough love' by having, dare I say it .... RULES.

Let me tell you a story.

In the early years, when we were starting out, we would give out employee

pay advances.

For example, if one of our associates was in a financial 'pickle', let's say needed help to make a down payment on a car, or rent an apartment, we would agree to give a pay advance of $100 or more, to help them make it through the occasional tough time.

And things went ok... for a while.

But, as time went on, and we began to grow, we soon found ourselves with a longer and longer list of employees with outstanding pay advances.

And the list of reasons given as 'emergencies' grew too!!

In fact, not longer after that, we began to realize that as soon as someone paid off their first advance, they would somehow magically needed to have another one to take its place. And, right away!.

That's right, the balance on these pay advances grew rapidly as our associates started to ask to 'add on' to their current advance - yep, with another advance!

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

We began to feel like the local bank, credit card company, or pay-day loan office, except we weren't charging any fees or interest!

Eventually, it got so bad, anyone could see our good intentions, without controls or rules, had spun 'out of control' -leaving us with an unmanageable mess on our hands.

To make a long story short, while honoring our existing pay advances to employees, we put a stopped issuing any new advances.

It took a month or two for our folks to get use to the new 'no pay advance' policy, but they eventually did.

Any lessons here?

Well, sure, we learned, for example, that sometime those 'big cleaning businesses' with all their rules, may actually have some pretty darn good reasons for having them!

And just as important, we learned, that it doesn't make you insensitive or uncaring to have rules.

In fact, for those of you who are parents, it's a lot like raising a family; you won't get kids to admit it very easily, if at all, but they need rules, and deep down most would admit - they actually want them.

Look at other places where rules could help... such as in HR matters like attendance and tardiness etc.

Be sure those rules are fair and consistent - and don't be afraid to ask an HR expert or attorney if you need to ask a question.

And there's some good news...

Having workplace rules makes it easier to manage your operation today, and avoid some of the 'growing pains' of a running a BIGGER janitorial business tomorrow.

You Can Do This, You Really Can,
Dan

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