The business world has evolved in recent years with technology improving the offering across so many sectors, the service industry is playing catch up, especially commercial cleaning. There are many platforms on offer to commercial cleaning companies from the technology world from time and attendance, payroll, accounts packages, management tools, trackers this list goes on. So, where do you start?
Well, investing in technology can be expensive and a bit of a punt; will your staff adopt it, use it, nurture it or just leave it in the corner to collect dust? Choosing the right platform for your business is important but not as important as the right platform for your people. Which brings me to the title of this blog, “Where to invest in your business to get the greatest return” and the answer is no platform or app, it’s your people.
Invest in your people from before you recruit them, set a culture where you have people applying to work for you, be the boss everyone wants to work with. Get that right and keep getting it right and anything you add (technology) will be the icing on the cake. You wouldn’t try to add that icing onto a cake that was still in the oven, it would add no value at all. The same with technology, don’t think getting the latest fancy management app will fix all your problems, it won’t!
So, how do you do that?
Well, I have tried in many initiatives to get the culture right. Some work, some don’t, what worked for me in my business might not work for you in yours. Each business has its own culture – for the avoidance of doubt buying in pizza on a Friday afternoon is not investing in your people and culture!
Management training days – get a guest speaker, they hear your voice all the time, have someone else deliver the company message. Even better, let them tell stories of their own experiences that support your company message. Your team are more likely to adopt a new focus on culture if external people say it’s a good thing.
Vision and Values – I don’t mean a list of 10 things that no one can remember, work with your people across all levels (bring a coach in to mediate) and select 3, 4, or 5 values. Then, explain what these mean to everyone in every roll in the business. Live and breathe them, speak them when emailing and having conversations. Do this in and out of your company, let your clients and prospects know what your values are. It’s worth looking at Virgin for a great example of this.
Get your cleaning staff together – whether small groups or organised events and discuss what they would like to see in the company, how you can get better. Equally, why do they love the company, what do you do that is different and better – that could even be a USP you never knew about!
Allow your managers more time with their teams – Managers are busy, we all know that, they run around from contract to contract, usually with a boot full of cleaning products. However, give them time to speak to their teams, discuss innovation, extra mile activity that may have taken place, conduct a job chat or just to ask “how things are”. It will build the relationship which in turn builds loyalty to the manger and to your company – what is your cleaning staff turnover currently?
Reward long service – This goes without saying, if someone has been with you 5, 10, 15, or 20 years then reward them, cleaning someone’s toilet for 20 years surely deserves recognition. Whether this be financial, a weekend break or shares in the company, do something, don’t let this go unnoticed.
Invest in the best equipment you can afford – Don’t scrimp on cleaning materials and products. Your cleaning teams will know which means before long your clients will know. Give them the best you can afford within the budget of the contract, this may do several things:
Gains trust and loyalty from staff (if they know you deliver great materials they will stay with you as it’s easier to do their job).
Increases productivity – which doesn’t always mean a reduction in hours for the staff, it can mean banking hours for additional deep cleaning or other tasks.
Equipment generally last longer which reduces the cost long term.
Little things – It’s the little things you do that go a long way, you don’t have to invest vast amounts of cash, do the small things like recognise great service – the WOW! Awards is a fantastic way to do this. Clients nominate staff for excellent service and WOW! Send a certificate for you to present to them. Recognise birthdays or anniversary’s as well as being there for the passing of family members. Finally, go and meet your people! Get out of your office and visit them, you will only really see the value in this once you’ve done it, not once, but make it a regular occurrence.
In a nutshell – Attract the right people, train them to the way you’d like things done while allowing them a framework to offer ideas and innovation (these are the people doing the job day in day out, they will often have better ideas then you). Nurture and support them while allowing them to grow in their roles, then, when you have a culture that is strong, you are more than likely to offer a great service. Then and only then, by adding technology do you start to rise above your competition.
And the results? Well I’ve recently seen two of my former colleagues move from cleaner to director roles after 5 and 6 years mentoring, guiding but allowing them to grow.
So, you want to invest in your business? Good, start with your people then, when you’re ready, look at MAAPP™ the best icing on the market!