Team Management and Training As A Building Services Contractor
An organization's greatest assets are its people. Custodial employees are the backbone of a commercial cleaning company - creating an effective training environment prepares your team for success and helps them meet all client expectations. Investing time in your employees’ training directly leads to increased performance and additionally contributes to higher retention rates.
A Building Service Contractor’s mindset has always centered on expectations. As the company grows from a single person or team to employing hundreds of technicians, BSC’s quickly realize how critical developing a systematic process and training teams on that process is in their ability to consistently achieve client expectations and meet industry standards.
Developing a training process isn’t exactly easy in Commercial Cleaning. An incorrect assumption exists that many people know how to clean. However, to meet industry standards regarding cleanliness there must be a strong training environment and process in place. In your mission to routinely meet (or beat) client expectations, building and refining this process will take years. These are some of the lessons BSCs learn as they scale, along with a few important considerations.
Hold an Orientation
Nothing tops giving your technicians all of the tools they need to succeed. When new employees become a part of the family, set them up for success by having them spend time with a certified trainer at the office. This is the perfect time to get to know them and also gauge their experience level.
In a simulated office experience companies have the opportunity to teach new hires cleaning techniques, best practices, orientate them with all of the supplies they will use, and have them set up a sample kit for a standard cleaning. This is also a great time to acclimate new employees with the technology and apps your company uses for communication, clock-ins/clock-outs, task instructions, and ordering supplies.
A strong initial orientation meeting while also practicing in a simulated practice space provides the preparation needed for the next step in the training process.
Preliminary Onsite Training is a Must Have
Taking new hires to a real account fills in the gaps that simulated training misses. It is difficult to replicate things like foot traffic, furniture layouts, and different surface breakdowns. It is preferable to take new employees to an account that has high standards - like a healthcare facility - because if they can meet those high expectations then they can handle most other accounts.
Create a mandatory three-day training system for new hires. As an example, the first day they might visit a real job site with a trainer and start with a tour of the facility, check out the supply closet, and go over every area in the space. They will also learn which tasks and areas are high priority. They will shadow the trainer and learn the proper technique for every task. This is important because if the new employee has previous cleaning experience they might have developed bad habits overtime.
The second day the trainer will divide the client site up by areas to share the work. The third day the new employee is on their own and the trainer will perform an inspection after their work is completed to determine if re-training is required. Ongoing inspections are performed for a 30-day period to ensure quality is maintained. This provides enough time to evaluate the new hire. From there it’s critical to continuously perform unannounced inspections to look for possible future trainers.
In short, there’s truly no replacement for real world practice.
Train Your Trainers
The best trainers started as custodial employees themselves. They know the job the best because they have done it. Investing in your employees provides them the ability to be promoted to trainers and supervisors by selecting employees who routinely pass all of their inspections and show passion for helping their co-workers succeed.
To start training an employee for this new role, provide them the additional resources they need: classes, certifications, and tutor with current trainers about the best approaches to helping others learn. Hiring a director of training to organize meetings and refreshment courses can be a good idea depending on the size of your company.
Trainers with real experience are impossible to beat. Great trainers = great teams.
Put Technology in Their Hands
Nearly everyone has a smartphone today. From timekeeping and geofencing to proposals and reporting, there are tools and platforms available for companies of any size to take their services to the next level by placing unprecedented power in your team’s fingers, with applications capable of managing the entire workflow of your business.
There are major benefits to the mobile enterprise for both the organization and the technician. The need for simplicity in mobile application design, coupled with the average employee’s inherent expertise using them, bodes well for adoption and utilization across departments while dramatically improving the process of training teams to use the technology to its full potential.
Bring New Technicians Onsite
Although there is some intriguing “simulated” training environments for this industry, but Technicians are hands on people who like to dive in and get their hands dirty.
Provide a System to Your Teams
New employees can range from no experience to a lifelong career as a technician. Despite their background, the importance of training everyone on a systematic and unified approach to performing work cannot be understated. This process is key to setting performance standards, effective teamwork and companywide synergy.
A Clean Supply Closet Drives Efficiency
Always leave the closet organized and 100% ready for the next job. The time your teams spend finding their equipment and then getting prepared to start working adds up quickly. A clean closet affects other service providers such as the maintenance or floor teams, so being proactive with a clean closet goes a long way.
Create Self Service Resources
You’ll be both thrilled and surprised by how engaged your teams become with accessible, easy to consume training materials. Videos offer an unparalleled opportunity to boil the complexity of services down to bite sized pieces of content that together arm your workforce with a knowledge base they can use exactly when they need it.