Hiring Employees for your House Cleaning Business
Soon after I founded my cleaning service company in 1989, I realized that without proper motivation people will do as little as possible to get by until payday. I had to find ways to motivate my employees to provide an optimal experience for every customer, every day. I learned that proper management and accountability ensures that the experience my company provides is desirable, leading to repeat customers.
Continually motivating your employees is essential to having them perform at their best every day. With the proper guidance people often perform beyond even their own expectations. Of course, if you hire qualified employees with proven track records your management hurdles will be lessened. Still, verbal and written communication are vital to effective leadership; therefore, your company policies must be clearly stated and strictly enforced.
You must motivate employees to take responsibility for their own actions. Each employee should have the understanding that the success of the company (and the paycheck they are expecting) depends upon all employees consistently performing to the best of their ability and working as a team. How do you accomplish this?
It is imperative that you hire honest, hardworking individuals with proven track records - not just any warm body that walks through the door. Never lower your standards to fill a position – your other employees will question your integrity and resent you for hiring a problem that they have to deal with on the job. It is your responsibility to hire individuals who can easily adapt to your company policies. Therefore, you must obtain a complete history on your job candidates. Be certain that your application forms request employment history for the past 20 years - include the statement "Attach additional sheets if necessary" on your application.
Thoroughly check references. When calling references, ask for “Human Resources” instead of the person listed on the application (some applicants will list a “friend” - not management.) If Human Resources can only provide the dates of employment, ask if the applicant is re-hirable. Then ask if the person listed as a reference on the application is qualified to by the company to be a reference.
A stable work history and home life are essential elements required of your staff. Obviously if the applicant has not held a job for at least one year, nor has viable reasons for terminations, the potential for problems in your company are high. Of course there are exceptions; certain young people may make exceptional employees, but have no substantial work history. In this case you should check school references and religious leaders, then go with your gut feelings.
Integrity is possibly the most important trait you should possess. Employees must be treated equally and fairly, as should every customer and vendor. You must remain professional at all times, using diplomacy and tact to discipline undesirable behavior. In addition, you must always lead by example.
Here are some tips for building respect:
• Set the example -- be certain that you remain in compliance with all company policies.
• Keep a positive attitude. If your employees are to stay positive you must set the example.
• Smile and be cheerful, but do not tell jokes or play pranks.
• Remain professional and somewhat impersonal at all times.
• Do not share personal matters with any employee.
• Do not give advice regarding personal matters – refer employees to professional counseling.
Provide Clear Direction
You must have an employee handbook which includes complete job descriptions and company policies. Warning certificates and regularly scheduled performance evaluations are essential management tools. Without clear direction each employee will have a different perception of what their responsibilities are based upon their past work experiences and personal ethics.
Evaluating performance is an essential part of your job. It is mandatory that you provide regularly scheduled performance reviews, and that they be filed in the employee’s personnel record for future reference. A formal evaluation should be conducted annually for all employees. New employees should have a formal evaluation at 6 weeks and 6 months, and should include passing an exam which includes questions directly from your company’s cleaning techniques handbook and company policies handbook.
It is of utmost importance that you give feedback based on specific standards and achievable goals to which all parties agree in advance. Therefore, an employee handbook must be provided to each new employee. The new employee must sign a compliance agreement which will be filed in their permanent record. Employees are then held accountable to follow every policy in the handbook, or they must resign. Should an employee be required to resign, then your personnel files will be proof to deny a claim against your company’s unemployment benefits account.
Part of the performance review is to set goals for the employee. Using the evaluation worksheet, comprise a list of improvements the employee must strive to accomplish before their next review. For example, goals for a cleaning technician might be to improve their attention to detail and increase their speed. Goals for the office assistant might include better accuracy in record keeping and improved efficiency of written communications.
Strive for consistency in discipline. Do not make allowances for certain employees, everyone must be held accountable to follow the same policies, and they must be disciplined or rewarded in the same manner. If your employees feel that one or two are treated differently, then you will have dissention in the ranks and your customers (not to mention your bank account) will suffer.
Recognize and reward superior achievers.
• Customer surveys with outstanding remarks should be read aloud at company meetings.
• Initiate a bonus structure where exceptional performance is given a monetary reward.
• Order a stock of award pins to be presented at company meetings.
• Pay raises should be given at the 6 month mark to new employees with exceptional marks.
• Pay raises should be given annually to all exceptional employees.
Following these guidelines should help you to run your company professionally while saving time and energy for other aspects of the business.
Copyright © 2004 MaidDocs® ~ All rights reserved.
Walter and Gwen Gibson are co-owners of MaidDocs – House Cleaning Business Forms, and they also run Maid in North Carolina, Inc., in High Point, North Carolina. MaidDocs offers a very affordable, non-franchised, turn-key business system and a-la-carte documents for residential cleaning businesses. Maid in North Carolina, Inc. was established by Walter in 1989.