To build and grow a successful and rewarding cleaning service business you, as the owner, will be required to wear many hats and develop a variety of skills. In addition to knowing how to get new cleaning accounts for your business with a great marketing plan, you’ll need to understand & manage the finances of your company, and develop the ability to hire, lead, manage and inspire your staff.

Without high performing staff, your company isn’t really a business, it’s more like a job. Improve your cleaning company’s performance and profitability by having clear expectations for performance at every level of your business.

And, once you’ve got your staff solidly in place, you will inevitably be faced with the need to deliver a formal (whether written or verbal) disciplinary action. For it to be fair, useful and effective, there are 3 things you’ll want to be sure to include:

1. What is unacceptable
2. What change you want to see
3. Result if things don’t change

To deliver a disciplinary action that gets positive results, you’ll need to be clear and specific about what is currently unacceptable. For example, rather than saying that an employee has a bad attitude, you’d do better to list their loud volume, use of sarcasm, or threatening words.

If the problem is a floor not being swept before mopping, a disorganized janitorial closet, or trash cans are being missed, explain this to your cleaner rather than telling them they “need to do a better job in their building.”

When you tell staff exactly what the problem is, it makes it easier (and less personally painful) to talk about corrective measures and solutions.

The second component is frequently missed, and unless you specify what you’d like done differently, your janitor may leave the discussion feeling defensive, hopeless or angry. As soon as possible, direct the conversation toward what you need to see (instead of the unacceptable behavior or result). You’ll be able to improve your cleaning company most quickly by providing as much detail as you can during the disciplinary action.

Tell your employee that you want them to use a fresh mop daily and arrive at work within 5 minutes of the scheduled time, or that you’ll need at least 10 days advance notice to request a day off. This way, vague comments about their poor attendance or late arrival to their station have a clear solution and a measurable way to monitor progress.

The third component must be delivered carefully because your goal is not to issue an ultimatum (which no one responds well to), but to elicit a more desirable behavior. Tell your employee that unless you see the desired change within (name a time period), they will be subject to further disciplinary action which will include either a written warning, a suspension, or immediate termination. If you’re discussing an undesirable behavior, you’ll just reword the DA to state that if XYZ happens again the employee will be subject to ABC.

Don’t make threats here (idle or otherwise). Don’t promise to fire someone and then not follow through. Not only does it let them know that you’re not serious, but the rest of your staff will soon know too that you say things you don’t mean and can’t be counted on to keep your word.

A plan of progressive discipline needs to be clearly laid out and followed. You can always skip or eliminate steps in the process, depending upon the severity of the infraction. Just be sure to communicate clearly where you stand and the management of your staff will become easier for everyone involved.

Improve your cleaning company and the functioning of your staff by making sure to include these 3 components in all disciplinary actions. Without them, you run the risk of being seen as impossible to please, always negative, or an ineffective manager by your employees.

Instead, well prepared disciplinary actions enable you to clearly articulate not only what you don’t want, but what you do want. And, best of all, they establish clear expectations for you and your staff to work within and get along well together.

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