Is there a need for more mentoring in the cleaning industry? This is a question business experts in this field have been asking for years. Cleaning may seem like a dull activity that you wouldn’t look twice at, but in reality, it’s a business with hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue annually. Which means that people need it, search for it and benefit from it regularly. So, why is coaching and mentoring the workforce in this field not more popular? Isn’t this a field which goes through constant changes and there’s always need for improvement? As John C. Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”. So why is coaching in the cleaning sector such a rare topic?

Mentoring in the Cleaning Sector

Adequate training and mentoring are always essential when training employees in all industries. It’s a process that takes its sweet time but prepares capable and competent individuals for the workplace challenges. Working for a cleaning company, I can confidently say, adequate training and mentoring is crucial within the cleaning industry. Like most unpleasant and “dirty” jobs, cleaning other people’s homes and messes isn’t everyone’s piece of cake and has its own specifics.

A Dirty Industry?

Cleaning is a dirty industry. It’s one of those things you do that makes everything else look great, but not you. It’s no secret that there’s a stigma attached to the job of a cleaner and society doesn’t appreciate enough the people who do their dirty work for them. It is this stigma that prevents people from appreciating the work they do and their role in society.

This naturally increases the demand for support the people in this industry need. The rate with which employees on such jobs burn-out is mind blowing. And while in most cases an increase in the salary and a shift in the duties is enough to motivate a staff member, cleaners who have no prospects of getting any of these are doomed.

What Can Companies Do To Support Their Staff?

If you think it’s just the cleaners, you are wrong. There are so many jobs out there that are considered “dirty”, “unpleasant” and “ungrateful”. When your employees do the nasty stuff no one else does, like cleaning, or burying people, they are on the receiving end of a lot of grief, ingratitude, hostility and other unpleasant emotions.

If you have employees who suffer any of the above mentioned, consider some of the following activities. Increase in salary can lift their spirits up, but sometimes isn’t enough to help them solve the issues they face. This is where you need to come up with other incentives, such as coupons or discounts.

Coping Strategies as an Integral Part of Initial Training

  • Mentoring Sessions Occasionally, organise mentoring sessions and trainings that will help empower your employees and motivate them on their job. Mentoring sessions could vary from the beginning of the training through to the different stages your employee is growing into. In the beginning make your employees feel competent enough to carry a job by themselves, later boost their confidence and make them feel appreciated.
  • Team buildings Every once or twice a year, organise a team building with games that stimulate conversation and closeness between team members of your company. I have noticed it’s important for teams in the cleaning business to work like well-oiled machines. Most compliments we have received on jobs well done emphasized on the great team-work displayed by our teams. You don’t want your employees to arrive at an address grumpy about the fact they have to work with a particular partner. This way, they won’t perform as well, the client will notice something’s not quite right, and you won’t be happy with the result either.
  • Get-togethers These can be as formal, or informal as you want them to be. I personally, love it when we get-together after work over a beer or two and everyone is encouraged to share his/her experiences in the past week. We share hilarious stories and some nasty details of the jobs, some successes and some failures. What’s important here, is everyone gets the chance to unload and unburden. In the same time, we as a group acknowledge we are not alone in it and if I had a bad day at work, a colleague of mine had a bad day yesterday, but managed to get through it. It’s important to acknowledge you are not alone. If you have it tough this week, someone else has been through this before. We laugh it off, share experiences and good practices and forget about the unpleasantness.

A company culture that promotes these practices will manage to keep its employees motivated and happy for longer. It’s obvious that most of your employees won’t retire while working for you, but you can always come up with things that will help make their days more productive and less-stressful as well as make their time with you worthwhile.

Author bio: Jane Wilson is a cleaning business coach and a marketing manager for Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne, a company which provides a full portfolio of services for homes and offices. Her passions include organising, recycling, problem solving and providing people with better living conditions.

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