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September 2013
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January 2014

Why Aren't My Cleaning Technicians Motivated? Part 1

At the BSCAI Convention this year, I attended a session on motivating your best employees, and getting rid of the bad ones. I really enjoyed the presentation and thought I'd share some of my takeaways with you here.

First, the facts. The 80/20 rule applies here -- did you know that in most companies;

  • 10% of your employees are your top perfomers,
  • 10% are your poor performers,
  • and 80% are somewhere in the middle.

That tells me that we all have work to do. And the easiest step to make right now is to get rid of the 10% that are poor performers. For your top performers, it's your job to make sure they stay there. For the ones in the middle, it's crucial that you work on moving them into the ranks of the top performers, rather than allowing them to slide down the scale to being poor performers.

While we're talking facts, here are a couple more. According to a study by Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with a low performer has made them want to change jobs, and 93% of employees say that working with a low performer has decreased their productivity. Those poor performers just might have more of a negative impact on your company than you thought!


How do I recognize a poor performer?

  • Most have negative attitudes
  • They are probably the ones that stir up trouble
  • They tend to blames others for their own poor performance, or they always have a good excuse
  • They lack initiative
  • They have an entitlement mentality

So the evidence is clear, that when you allow poor performers to continue in their bad ways, there is a high liklihood that the entire team's productivity and motivation will suffer, thus putting your entire company at risk.

In fact, poor performers can have such a negative impact on your company, you may not even be aware of how deep the impact goes. Here's what I mean. Poor performers;

  • lower overall productivity
  • have higher absenteeism
  • waste your valuable time and energy, and that of your supervisors and co-workers
  • can cause customers to fire your company
  • increase recruitment costs because you're constantly turning over employees
  • increase your training costs
  • increase your disciplinary costs
  • and if you have a poor performing supervisor, it can cause performance problems throughout his or her entire team

And think about the message this sends to your customers. It tells them that you really don't care about them, or you'd be more selective in your hiring process. And just think -- when you have poor performers on YOUR team, that means they can't be employed by your competitors! Wouldn't you rather fire this poor performer and have him go work for your competitor?

So what's a cleaning business owner to do?

Find out in Part 2

Please share your experience with poor performers and how you handle them. Click on the Comments link below.

Presenteeism: Do You Want Your Cleaning Technicians Working When They're Sick?

Cough-air-quality-180x226I recently attended the I.C.E. Recertification class at the ISSA Convention. During the class, Dave Frank discussed a word many people had never heard of -- Presenteeism.

Presenteesim means an employee comes to work but is not fully functioning, due to illness.

How many times have your employees come to work while sick? For that matter, how many times have YOU come to work while sick? For those of us from the "Baby Boomer" and older generation, it was practically a badge of honor to come to work sick! It proved our dedication to the job and the company, and how we could push ourselves through almost any kind of discomfort in order to get ahead.

Presenteeism is still happening today, but it is no longer considered a display of weakness to stay home in the eyes of many employers. That's because they finally realize it's better to have one person go home sick than to have illness run rampant through the company. And even worse, to spread that illness through their clients' buildings or homes.

A little known fact regarding presenteeism is that productivity can be reduced by 30% or more, which is often more costly than absenteeism. Here are some additional negative effects of presenteeism:

  • Employees take longer to do their tasks than they would if they were healthy (thus the loss of productivity).
  • Quality of work is decreased. When people are ill, they are less focused on the task at hand, so the quality of work suffers as a result.
  • Sick employees lack initiative. They basically want to get through the day so they can go home and rest.
  • Lowered ability to perform at their peak. When people are healthy they are able to perform their best work. This is almost impossible to do when sick.
  • Decreased quantity of work completed. Most cleaning technicians do the basics when sick, and let some of the more detailed cleaning slide. This can throw the whole cleaning schedule out of whack.
  • Lack of motivation. Most of us are simply not as motivated when we're sick.
  • Inability to be social with coworkers. Workers that come to work when ill are not terribly social, which can drag the team down.

Do you have a problem with presenteeism in your cleaning company? If so, there are usually specific reasons for this:

  1. Your company culture. As the cleaning business owner, it's time to look at yourself to see if this problem stems from the culture you've created. Many cleaning business owners are often times short-handed, which puts added stress on the rest of the employees and the owner. When you show that you're upset when an employee calls in sick, it creates a culture of fear of calling in sick.
  2. Job protection. Some employees may feel their job could be in jeopardy if they call in sick, especially if there is a perceived company culture of having to work while sick.
  3. Lack of sick days or PTO. If you don't offer any sick days or paid time off, many employees will come to work sick, purely for economic reasons -- they simply can't afford to be off a day of work, even it it's because they're sick.
  4. Overwhelmed and overworked. Some employees will forgo taking off due to illness for fear of coming back to work to an even heavier workload. If they know you don't have an adequate replacement to handle things while they're gone, they know they'll be even more overwhelmed than they already are when they come back to work. This is especially true in the case of supervisors who have a lot on their plate.

Whatever the reason for presenteeism in your company, if it's a problem, it needs to be addressed. Here are a few tips for reducing presenteeism in your company:

  • Review your company culture and company policies to make sure there is nothing that might make employees feel obligated to come to work when sick.
  • Offer paid sick days or PTO so employees don't have to feel as if they can't take off when sick for economic reasons.
  • Cross-train employees so others can fill in for the sick employees so they don't feel as if things will fall apart if they can't make it to work.

Do you have a problem in your cleaning company with presenteeism? Please share your thoughts on this topic by clicking on the Comments link below.