The Unseen Predictor of Service
As a Facility Manager, when choosing a commercial cleaning company, it can be easy to focus on factors like price and size while ignoring some of the more unseen aspects that can impact the overall level of service you receive. Obviously you don’t need or likely want to know all of the inner machinations of how your cleaning company promotes a positive, supportive, inclusive business culture, but it should matter to you that such a culture exists. Your commercial cleaning company’s culture will be a strong predictor of how frontline cleaning employees perceive and perform their jobs and even a company’s employee turnover. Overall employee satisfaction and turnover impact the quality, consistency and effectiveness of your cleaning. So what is a positive company culture and how can you spot one before you choose your next janitorial company?
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Every organization has a culture whether they intentionally cultivate one or not. Some are positive while others are not. It all comes down to what values, behaviors and beliefs are pushed as being the desired mindset, the atmosphere of the company if you will. Much like the oft criticized parenting phrase, “do as I say not as I do,” the reality is that actions speak far louder than words. Culture isn’t something that you can decide on in a meeting, or change whenever you want because it's a reflection of your actions and choices, not simply what you say. Say whatever you like about a company's culture, it's a clear indicator of what their staff believe to be true about the place they work.
Taking Pride in What You Do
No matter how you spin it, work is work, it isn’t a day at the beach, an afternoon golfing or an hour just relaxing and recharging. But that doesn’t mean work is devoid of any meaning or good feelings. A workplace that is fun, inviting, respectful, supportive, social, and interconnected is going to be more productive and in general, a better place to work than one that isn’t. People thrive in a positive and supportive environment and it costs nothing to build a workplace that places an emphasis on this. Having the right motivated and outgoing individuals as the stewards of your building’s cleaning and maintenance is going to have a significant impact on the services you and your facility receive.
By giving people the tools to succeed, they feel good about their contribution and put more of themselves into their work instead simply going through the motions or spending every waking second waiting to go home. Companies that promote learning, accountability and commitment are far more likely to succeed than those who ignore company culture and its impact. A positive work environment is based around offering employees competitive wages and benefits, supportive management, the tools and training for success while making them feel like their work, time and effort is meaningful and appreciated.
How Culture Translates into Quality Service
We’ve established that a successful business is built around a positive culture, but how does that culture impact you as a customer? First, workers that are unhappy in their jobs or struggle with a negative, unsupportive company culture leave at far higher rates leading to higher turnover. This can leave you with a revolving door of new hires creating a situation in which you feel like cleaning employees are in a constant state or ramping up. A problematic culture has a ripple effect of issues that can have a significant impact on your facility. So what are the benefits of partnering with a professional cleaning service that recognizes this?
First, a positive and welcoming culture contributes to employees feeling important and valued. This feeling will show in the way they approach and do their work. Second, companies that look to create an environment based on teamwork and shared responsibility generate a strong web of support that almost always translates to better customer service. Finally, supportive management that focuses on both employee appreciation and accountability creates results for you the Facility Manager.
The best way to insure consistency and quality is through accountability. As common sense tells us, things that people know will be checked tend to get done better and more consistently. If your company looks to build a culture around accountability and personal growth, employees are sent the message that their job matters and actively try to improve at it. Not only does accountability get more effort from employees, it actively rewards employees who consistently do their best making an organization’s best employees feel seen and valued. When achievement is rewarded, it becomes a lot more commonplace. When you support your employees, they tend to do better work.
Finally, by placing confidence in employees they are offered the chance to solve problems themselves. When people are pushed to learn and grow, they take risks and problem solve on their own more freely, often finding creative solutions customized to the individual facilities in which they work. Allowing staff to have responsibility encourages them to take credit for what they did, both good and bad and allows for growth and helps discourage pushing blame for mistakes to others.
How Can I Assess a Prospective Cleaning Company’s Culture?
Now, trying to identify the company with a vibrant, positive “company culture” sounds like a difficult task, right? Fortunately for you, someone else has already done it for you. CIMS and CIMS-GB certification are robust industry relevant accreditations that demonstrate a company's commitment to following best practices, including a positive, supportive, inclusive company culture. These companies have the best in screening, training, recruitment and employee incentive programs meaning your frontline cleaning staff are trained, motivated and managed for success. Company culture isn’t everything, but it is one of the biggest predictors of the kind of service your facility is going to get.
It may sound obvious, but you want cleaning staff that has the tools, systems and support to their jobs to the best of their ability. When your company cares about the people they employee, those employees have a tendency to care about you the customer and the work that they do. Recognizing and rewarding good work translates to better business outcomes and does more to build an open and positive company culture than anything else possibly could. To put it simply, happy staff means better work and better work means that you are getting both results and value.