In an effort to improve your cleaning business’s performance, you may wonder how to eliminate the problem of poorly performing employees. Since your employees are your company’s single greatest asset, a solid quality control program results in client satisfaction as well as great referrals for you.

Much like misbehaving customers, sometimes employees perform poorly because they can. By this I mean that you (as the company owner) may unwittingly be the source of the problem. Unless you’re clear on the parameters of the employment relationship, you may be at least partly to blame.

Your employees may be unclear as to what the expectations are. Yes, I know … I agree with you that you wouldn’t think you’d have to tell employees not to remove things from the client’s premises that don’t belong to them. But after having an employee be granted unemployment benefits when I terminated them for that very thing, I learned how important it is to put everything in writing.

Two Quick Fixes:

The two things below will help you quickly improve your cleaning business and have it running more smoothly as well.

1. Clearly articulated expectations. The things that may seem to be common sense to you or I are not necessarily common to others. Make sure you have in place job descriptions, performance reviews and even a very basic employee handbook.

2. Consistent processes. Once the written parameters are in place make sure you are using processes and systems to stay consistent. This will mean the policies you put in place are being utilized and as a result, your problems should be reduced by about 90%.

The other 10% of your employee performance problem will be a result of one of two things below:

1. There is an enforcement issue within your company. I don’t mean to sound like a drill sergeant when I use the word enforcement. What I mean to say is that there’s no sense in having policies if you’re going to make exceptions to them all the time. The last time I got a traffic ticket, I was not happy at all when I first got pulled over. But (I swear this is the truth) once the nice officer got done explaining to me how dangerous what I had done was, I was pleased he was so concerned about my safety! I kid you not! That’s actually what happened.

I’m not suggesting that you have to offer a long, drawn out explanation for every policy that you have. What I am suggesting is if you put into place reasonable policies and explain to your entire team how they benefit the group as a whole, you shouldn’t have difficulty enforcing your policies. When they are violated, just use the broken record technique of explaining what the policy is and what needs to happen now.

2. The initial hiring decision was the wrong one. In this case, the only thing left to do is to cut your losses and move on. Not every employee will be a good fit for your company. There will be a certain percentage of people who just don’t fit your company’s culture and never will. This doesn’t make you bad and doesn’t make them bad, it’s just a bad fit. Free them to find a better fit with another company. This will do wonders to improve your cleaning business’s morale and functioning. One poor hire can drag down an entire team with their bad habits and attitude. Don’t let this ruin what you’ve worked so hard to create.

This is another instance where good systems and processes will work in your favor. If you’ve clearly identified the culture of your company, you’ll be able to find employees that have the same values, goals and drives you do, and this should eliminate most of these poor fits. And, if your processes are consistent, your ability to weed out the poor fits will improve dramatically over time.

Just as it’s important to have the right ideal clients to work with, your cleaning service business needs the best employees available. Your processes and policies will have a huge effect on how well your company performs and how efficiently your business is running. Don’t’ make the mistake some business owners make by thinking the problem is with the applicant pool. You (as the business owner) have a large role to play in helping your employees to perform at their highest levels. And, when they do, your clients are happy and that means you’re happy too, right? Combine that with happy employees and you have the recipe for a successful cleaning service business.

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