Make sure your people are up-to-date with the essential janitorial skills
Even experience doesn’t always account for the janitorial skills and training necessary for your employees to succeed on the job. In addition to general cleaning skills, some niche markets may require specialized knowledge, such as carpet cleaning, bodily fluid cleanup, or hazardous chemical cleanup. That’s why it’s so important to choose training programs that offer the janitorial skills most relevant to your staff.
Investing in a training program is a good idea for a couple of reasons.
First, you want to make sure that your staff has the skills you want them to have, not just what they bring with them on the first day. This not only eliminates questions about best practices later, but it also reduces your company’s liability should a compliance issue arise.
Second, janitorial skills, like most, evolve over the years. If you don’t keep up with training your veteran employees as well as your new ones, you may be missing valuable information that could leave you behind the competition.
But what should you train your staff on; basic skills or specialized skills? The type of services you offer will help decide what type of training is best for your employees.
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Basic skills or specialized skills? What janitorial skills do your employees need?
Many of your employees may already have at least some experience in the cleaning industry, but that doesn’t mean they have a robust set of janitorial skills. One way to be sure is to ask for certifications or references from former employers. Another idea, however, is to send new or newer employees to training.
Basic cleaning skills include things like buffing, polishing, wiping and mopping, but they also should include chemical safety, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the use of any heavy equipment, such as floor buffers. Training for these basic skills is usually just a google search away and may be offered by your equipment distributor.
For specialized janitorial skills, such as cleaning up bodily fluids, handling hazardous materials, and waxing floors, you may have to dig a little deeper. Bodily fluids and hazardous materials have especially specific and strict guidelines for cleaners, many of which can be found through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (You can also find some additional training tips about hazardous waste through your local Department of Transportation.)
If you choose to send your employees to a janitorial skills training program, check to make sure the training provider is certified to offer that training. The last thing you want is to pay someone for obvious or even incorrect information. Referrals are another great way to find the training programs that will best suit your teams.
Remember, too, that janitorial skills training isn’t just for new hires. Because the janitorial industry is continuously evolving with new products, tools, and regulations, it’s a good idea to require veteran staff to undergo training once every year or so to make sure they’re still on top of their games.
Managers and owners should also participate in training once in a while. This way, everyone is sure to have the same information, and it gives senior management a better idea not only of what their employees are (hopefully) doing, but also a sense of where the industry is going and what they need to do to keep up with it.
Additional resources for janitorial skills training
In addition to the resources above, here are a couple of other avenues you might find helpful when looking at training for janitorial skills:
- ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association) offers a custodial technician training program that’s well-received around the industry. They also have dozens of other helpful resources for anyone in the janitorial services industry. Check out their website for all of the various things they offer you and your business.
- The Janitorial Store is another stocked resource for management and training initiatives you may find necessary for your cleaning company. Save money by becoming a member, or browse around their online store for materials that suit your needs.
- OSHAcademy offers a robust list of free trainings relevant to OSHA guidelines and modern-day best practices. OSHAcademy also has some resources you can invest in, but the majority of their offerings require registering and being a part of this large community of cleaners.
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