Inspections ensure you are providing consistent and high-quality work. They make sure your customers are happy, and they are a proactive approach to handling any complaints that might head your way. Additionally, they also serve as a continuation of training for your employees. Expert supervisors can spot when incorrect or old service methods are being performed (glass cleaning for example), and a great inspection report is the perfect opportunity to educate your workforce.
Inspection reports are the foundation of a company's quality assurance process, since they ensure that the scope of work is being completed in a consistent manner while providing the feedback necessary for your team to improve. However, an ideal inspection report also improves employee engagement by simultaneously informing your employees when they are doing a great job. Employees who feel appreciated are much more receptive to working on the areas where they need to make corrections.
The most efficient way to create impactful inspection reports that can easily be shared with your team is to embrace a mobile phone software solution. Regardless of which software you choose, we have a few tips on how to properly configure your reports to boost team performance.
An Inspection Supervisor should be trained to walk through a facility room by room. Use inspection software to set up inspection reports that include every room and label them appropriately. We perform inspections by individual areas, not tasks. Building Service Providers typically prefer this approach instead of grouping areas by type (restrooms) or by fixtures (desks) since one group of restrooms might pass the inspection, but another group might not.
The same idea applies to fixtures since office spaces usually have multiple locations for desks and only some of them might have passed the inspection. This makes it easier for technicians in the field to quickly identify which areas of the building they need to make corrections.
The Inspector Routine
Inspectors begin with the front of the building then progress throughout the facility. They review everything from the floors, to the fixtures, to the garbage cans. Emphasis should be placed on reviewing all windows and glass for smudges and fingerprints since they are easily noticed.
Building Service Contractors train inspectors to NEVER miss reviewing a bathroom or high traffic areas. These are high priority areas and they must always be inspected and reported on. Inspectors should review the supply closet too, since that is the area where all work begins and ends for a shift.
After setting up the report by areas and rooms the next step critical step to formulating an inspection report is defining your grading system. Currently, many supervisors use a grading scale ranging from 1 to 5. Others use language like "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" or a "red", "yellow", "green" system.
We recommend a different approach.
Recent studies have shown that employees respond negatively to these classic grading scales and it reduces job satisfaction. To increase employee engagement we instead only use either:
- Great Job
- Let's Improve
Showcase Your Team’s Great Work
Employees feel more included and less of a number in the system by using inclusive language. When your company grows larger the sad truth is that your workforce feels less connected, so carefully choosing your words and how you deliver feedback to employees (whether good or bad!) is critical. Additionally, we always believe that when a report is delivered to an employee that the positive results of the inspection should be delivered before they receive their list of corrections.
Focus on making sure employees feel appreciated for their great work and to not overly emphasize any of their mistakes. By using language like "Let's Improve", leaders can reinforce the notion that everyone is in this together (because we are), and that as a team we are always striving to improve on what we are already doing correctly.
Constructive Feedback Goes A Long Way
When a correction is needed, we recommend including a photo with specific and direct notes. If your software allows you to markup photos (the ability to draw on the photo itself) then use that to its full capability. If a partition was left dusty, then take a photo of it and circle the exact portion that was missed. Using direct language with the combination of detailed photos allows employees to instantly understand what need to be improved upon. Providing detailed notes and photos while also still using inclusive language not only helps your workforce make corrections easily, but also ensures them that their hard work is appreciated.
Sharing Inspection Reports
Lastly, the medium that employees receive their inspection reports is important. Inspection reports should be easily accessible. If your software allows for reports to be delivered in multiple ways, we suggest you speak with your employees to see which method they prefer. Sending inspection reports to an employee's email address is great, but (with employee consent) sending reports via text message has proven to be a far better channel to share inspection reports with your teams.
When possible, take full advantage of any mobile messaging options. Many employees in the field are not checking their emails as much as office staff - their life doesn’t revolve around email! But in this day and age almost everyone checks their phone in a timely manner. This also makes it extremely easy for employees to pull up their reports at any time out in the field if they need to review the areas where they need improvement.
Furthermore, if your software has a mobile app where employees can read their inspection reports and electronically confirm that they read them before they begin their shift then that is ideal. This way expectations between managers and employees are clearly communicated and confirmed.
Inspections serve many purposes - they keep your customers happy, your workforce informed and well trained, and they also serve as a way to track rock star employees that should be rewarded and in some cases promoted.
Try these best practices on your next Inspection, you’ll notice the difference:
- Set up Area by Area (room by room)
- Use inclusive language
- Send positives first
- Deliver via text instead of email
- Make their inspection reports accessible
Take the time to create a solid inspection report template since it will reward your organization in a multitude of ways and with today's advancements with technology it has become even easier. Look for software that provides analytics about your workforce and which employees stand out. They could be your next best inspector!