There’s more to janitorial services than wiping desks and mopping floors. A custodial training program ensures that everyone knows the nuances that accompany janitor life.
Your cleaning business has been around for a little while now, and is successful enough that it’s time to add more people to your crew. As you add more team members to your staff, though, you begin to notice that not everyone is cut from the same cloth. You begin to think that a custodial training program would help unify your teams while also imparting useful knowledge, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing turnover.
At this point, you might ask yourself, “Do I need to develop an entire program?” The answer, of course, is no. But before the idea of custodial training overwhelms you, take a moment to discover how easy it can be with a proper outline and a standardized method of delivery.
4 Easy ways to establish a custodial training program
1. Establish an identity
Before you can create an effective custodial training program, however, it’s important for your company to understand itself. Who are you, or who do you want to be? What are the core values of the company? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you have a mission statement?
If all of this sounds like overkill for a commercial cleaner, think again. Successful companies in any industry must first establish an identity before they can sustain that success. (And most need it to achieve the success in the first place.)
Identity is more than just a name. It’s a core of values and a sense of purpose. Sure, everyone knows that your goal is to provide cleaning services, but your mission statement is about more than just that. It’s about how you want to provide those cleaning services. How do you want customers to view you? What about employees? What separates you from other cleaning businesses? The answers to these questions are vital for developing a custodial training program that works.
2. Define your ideal customers
Another thing to decide before you can begin is what kind of customers you want to attract. A company that takes any business that comes its way can become erratic and directionless. Just as your customers wouldn’t sign on with just any cleaning service, so also should you discriminate when it comes to the types of customers that you want.
Defining your ideal customers will also help you direct your employees regarding how to interact with said customers in the event of an onsite dispute. Knowing your audience is the first step to diffusing a situation, and the same holds true for employee/customer disagreements.
3. Create a manual
Once you’ve got a foundation, the next step is to put together a custodial training manual. These days, it’s usually most convenient and cost-effective to provide the manual electronically, but you might also want to have a few hard copies handy in case any of your staff don’t have computer access.
What should the manual include? Everything! Starting with your foundational points, talk about what employees should expect in their work lives, from behavior to communication, time management to teamwork, and security to safety. These may not sound like elements of custodial training, but they’re an essential part of building a cohesive team with a streamlined work ethic.
Additionally, you’ll want technical portions, like sections on the equipment you use, the areas you clean, the protocol in case of an accident, disagreement, or some other incident, and any other policies or procedures you want all of your employees to know.
And of course, the manual should have required government regulations wherever appropriate and/or necessary.
(You may want to review some or all of the manual with legal counsel before you distribute it to employees.)
4. Conduct a regular training session
Finally, for an effective custodial training program, there needs to be an interactive component. After all, it’s an interactive job! But the training session should be more than just reading the manual—employees can (and should) do that themselves. Someone with years of industry experience should conduct the sessions, and they should include plenty of Q&A, hypothetical situations, video tutorials, and discussions amongst the participants. At the end, it might make sense to test the employees on the basic tenants of the training, if only so that there’s something at stake for them if they don’t do their homework.
How often you conduct the session depends on how often you have new hires. Start out by planning to conduct the sessions once a quarter, then adjust from there based on need. While it may not be practical to offer the training weekly or even monthly, you’ll still want to make sure that you get new hires on board with your philosophies and practices as soon as possible following their date of hire.