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Why Aren't My Cleaning Technicians Motivated? Part 2

In Part 1 of this series on motivating cleaning technicians, we discussed the impact poor performers have on your company. In this blog post, we'll talk about what you can do about it.

First, it's never easy to discipline or fire an employee, but sometimes it simply must be done. An important thing to keep in mind is that every employee firing has a learning opportunity for you and your supervisors. Acknowledge any mistakes you might have made and don't keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Next, always be searching for exceptional employees. Without a constant flow of applicants, you'll quickly lose control and find yourself pulled back into cleaning because someone left you high and dry at the last minute. Don't give your employees that kind of control over your business!

How do you find exceptional employees? Remember that birds of a feather tend to flock together, so start with your best performers and offer a great incentive for recruiting more of the same type of employee.

Become better at hiring, and be sure that whoever is involved in the hiring process is convinced that this is a great place to work. If you're allowing supervisors to interview applicants, and your supervisors have the attitude that there's no point in spending a lot of time on the hiring process because "they'll probably quit in a month anyway", then you'll never break the cycle.

Ask better questions of applicants. Don't let them get away with giving you what you want to hear. Ask them things like,

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What have you done at one of your jobs that you are proud of?
  • Describe a disagreement you had with a co-worker or supervisor, and explain how you handled it.
  • Describe a time ... (questions that start with this phrase are great at uncovering how the applicant handles different situations).
Cleaning technicians need motivation too
Improve your hiring process and training systems to keep employees motivated

Become better at training, and don't let your trainers get away with cutting corners. Just like the supervisors that may not want to put time into the hiring process, the same group will probably do a half-way job on training because they figure they'll just leave soon anyway. But what if they don't leave? Are you willing to have employees stay when they're not properly trained? One of the best things you can do with your money is to invest in comprehensive training for employees, so don't cut corners.

Spend enough time up front orienting them about their new company -- its history, its mission, its services, its culture. Explain their job in detail -- what it requires and why their job is so important to your clients. Next, give them the skills they need to be successful at their new job. And don't forget about ongoing training. This is a repetitive job so you must keep it interesting. Good employees like learning and growing so not only refresh their skills, but teach them new skills. And remember that  your investment in training is an investment in the success of your company.

Next, be sure to have clear policies in your Employee Handbook and then enforce those policies. Be sure to cover what you expect of your employees and what they can expect of you. Too often we let inconsistency be the norm when it comes to enforcing policies. Don't let that happen, or chaos is sure to follow.

Give your employees the tools they need to do the job well. If you expect higher production rates, then give them the tools that will help them do that. Also, solicit feedback and encourage suggestions on how to do their job better and more efficiently. They want to feel as if they're an important part of your business, so if you encourage them in this way, they'll want to contribute and do a better job. Also let them make more on-the-spot decisions. This doesn't mean they'll always be right, but give them constructive feedback and keep coaching them. They'll get better with time.

If you have some great performers that you think would excel in your company, be sure to give them encouragement, and perhaps guide them toward a career in your company. They may have certain talents and abilities that would add value to your business in another capacity -- they may just need a little encouragement from you. And don't forget that rewarding your employees for a job well done goes a long way.

If you'd like to take it a step further, solicit feedback from your key employees. Ask them:

  • 5 things that motivate them
  • 5 things that do NOT motivate them

Then make action plans to increase the motivators and eliminate the de-motivators.

The real key to remember is consistency in all you do. Treat all employees with respect, don't show favoritism, invest in consistent hiring, orientation and training practices, and discipline as needed.