The Irritating Seesaw of the Inconsistent Janitorial Service
As a Facilities Manager, you have probably seen more than your share of inconsistent janitorial services. Perhaps you hire a commercial cleaning service and for a few weeks, everything is great. Then you notice a few things just aren’t as precise as they used to be. Then eventually you may get some calls from tenants complaining about the level of the work or missed items. You finally call the janitorial service to complain and lo and behold, things take a turn for the better, for a while anyway. But again, just a few weeks later, it seems that complacency and a rush job mentality settle in again and you feel back to square one, stuck with a cleaning company that isn’t getting the job done.
An Inconsistent Cleaning Company = Big Headaches For Facility Managers
A janitorial services company or commercial cleaning company that does consistently inconsistent work is a huge headache for you, the Facility Manager. Over time, this kind of subpar cleaning will cost you money in the form of your valuable time spent putting out fires or following up on incomplete work, the satisfaction of your employees and customers and your reputation. One of the many benefits of outsourcing your building maintenance is so you don’t have to spend your time managing the cleaning of your building. If you aren’t getting consistency and responsiveness from your janitorial company, you are being shortchanged.
Why Do So Many Janitorial Companies Miss the Mark?
There are certainly those cleaning companies out there that just don’t care about the level of work they do. Still, I think most janitorial companies do want their customers to be happy, they just don’t understand what it really takes to make that dream a consistent reality. Wanting a customer to be happy and making sure your customers are happy are two very different things. What kind of elements come together to create a janitorial services company capable of consistent, responsive service? Like any other professional business, a great deal goes into getting it right. Chief among these are very good people, receiving very good training, being managed well with systems to monitor the quality of work and rewards and recognition for a job well done.
Consistent Janitorial Service is About People, Training & Systems
Too many cleaning companies just do not have systems in place to deliver consistent, top notch service. All too often, they rely too heavily on their employee's personal expertise. Maybe they believe cleaning is a “no brainer” that does not require training but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Cleaning a 200,000 sq. ft. building is much different than cleaning your living room at home. Just because someone keeps a clean home does not mean their skills automatically translate to your facilities without some training and guidance. Bring improperly or inadequately trained people into your facilities without any management or systems to insure good work and you have a recipe for subpar cleaning services.
Janitorial Companies That Consistently Deliver, What Are They Doing Better?
The building blocks of success in any commercial cleaning company or janitorial services company are good people, receiving very good training, being managed well with systems to monitor the quality of work and rewards and recognition for a job well done. What exactly does that look like?
Well, first you need to hire good people. That means a lot of things like being a place that good people want to work by offering a competitive wage and benefits. Two, once you have people who are interested in a job, you need to know if they are a good fit for you and your customers. That means you must thoroughly vet each prospective employee by doing complete and thorough background checks. You must also determine if they are suitable for the work and likely to succeed.
Once you have a good team of good people, you must give them the training to be great at their jobs. We all want to be great at our jobs. “Great” rarely happens by accident, it is the result of training and practice. Now that you have a trained team of good people ready to go, you must manage them with systems to keep everyone on track. It is also advisable to reward and recognize those team members that really get it. In doing so, you can show the rest of your team that “great” really, really matters in your organization. In fact, it matters so much that their level of quality work translates into the best opportunities, better pay, awards, incentives and recognition.
How Do You Know Which Cleaning Company Is “In It To Win It”
A good cleaning company leads their employees with direction by having great service delivery systems in place. It can be challenging to separate sales talk from straight talk when looking for a janitorial service provider but there are some good ways of develop your short list of prospective building maintenance providers. CIMS Certification can help you identify Cleaning Companies who have service delivery and training systems in place. CIMS, or Cleaning Industry Management Standard is an advanced certification available to companies in the building services industry that meet strict performance benchmarks like:
- Quality Systems: A paradigm to guarantee operational effectiveness & continual improvement
- Service Delivery: Usable, effective systems in place to deliver consistent, quality service
- Human Resources: Best practices for managing any service industry’s greatest asset—their people
- Health, Safety, & Environmental Stewardship: Ensuring regulatory compliance, workplace safety, and health and environmental management
- Management Commitment: Establishing a Mission, Vision, and Values that safeguard that the organization's continued success.
CIMS isn’t an empty award that cleaning companies earn with their membership dues. Rather, it is a hard one certification that demonstrates a janitorial company’s commitment to great service, delivered consistently. And as a busy Facilities Manager, looking only at CIMS janitorial companies can help you weed out those cleaning companies that just aren’t set up to succeed.
If you are stuck with a janitorial company that has you on the irritating seesaw of inconsistent service then it is time to move on. There are many solid janitorial companies out there willing and able to deliver the kind of cleaning and maintenance service you and your facilities demand at a value you can live with.