Effective Employee Training

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by Tom Watson on July 13, 2010

When you start your own cleaning business you will wear many hats. One of the most important is Director of Employee Training.

In this role you get new staff members up to speed on “how we do things around here”. In other words…you have to train them. When you first start out you may wonder what works best?

That’s an easy one…Hands on training.

Once you grow your business a bit (have an office etc…) you can expand your repertoire to include some in-house training. A few examples would be some written materials you create based on what you have learned over the years and some training videos from a supply house.

Incorporating all three methods (written material, video training and hands on) would be ideal, and is your best bet for achieving success. But what do you do when you have no office, no experience to put in writing and no training videos?

You put on your hardhat and get to work!

Spend your time walking the new employee though each detail of the account they will be servicing. Now…this takes a lot of patience, not to mention time but get used to it because this is so important! To do anything less would be to sabotage all your hard work in landing the account in the first place.

A method that has worked well for me is to create a detailed work schedule. This is used to reinforce the specifics of the account. A short cut method to creating one is to use part of the very proposal you used to land the account in the first place. Simply copy the work schedule portion of the bid (make sure any pricing is omitted) and make a copy for your employee.

Working side by side with the employee, using the work schedule as your guide, will lay the foundation for a well trained employee. Previous experience (along with complexity of the account) will determine just how long you need to spend with a new recruit. On an account that is serviced daily, spending 3-5 days to train would be considered average to me.

The time you spend training is some of the most important time you will ever spend with the recruit. It is vital to not take any short cuts (halfhearted efforts at vacuuming, cleaning toilets, dusting etc…) during this time. If the recruit sees you taking short cuts then you can bet they will follow your lead when you are not around.

Once you have let the employee go on their own make sure to stop in unannounced occasionally. This tends to keep them on their toes. It also send a subliminal message to them that you stay on top of things. Treat each of these visits as a opportunity for additional training.  Evaluate and correct any issues that you stumble upon. If no such issues exist then simply reinforce the basics.

Remember…you will never “finish” the training process. Treat it as a continual effort that just repeats itself over and over. Taking the time to train properly saves you more grief than you could imagine and results in a company that is easy (and fun) to operate.

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