Every two years the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes an Occupational Handbook. In its 2010-2011 edition, the BLS states: “Most building cleaning workers, except supervisors, do not need any formal education and mainly learn their skills on the job or in informal training sessions sponsored by their employers.”
This means it is up to each organization to decide the amount, frequency and quality of training cleaning workers receive to do their jobs. Some organizations might have extensive training programs while others throw new workers into the fray, focusing on straight on-the-job training. The training strategy an organization uses is based on the time, resources and budget available for training.
Today’s reality is that, many organizations cannot afford to spend any amount of time, resources or budget on anything beyond basic job functioning as they struggle to operate under significantly smaller maintenance and operations budgets. According to P&G Professional’s 2011 “Cleaning Industry Insights” survey, six out of ten cleaning industry professionals indicated that their business has taken a ‘doing more with less approach” by ‘doing more or the same amount of work with fewer employees.’ It may seem that there is no time or money to dedicate to training, but organizations need training programs now more than ever.
Without an effective training program, organizations may be setting themselves up for lost productivity, possible rework, increased risk for employee health and safety incidents, and workers compensation claims. The cost of training may be minimal compared to the costs associated with making up for the lack of training.
Training programs do not need to be complicated or expensive. With a simplified approach to cleaning, organizations can ease the training process, ensure customer expectations are met, increase operational efficiency and improve results.
Simplify the cleaning process, simplify the training
To make sure front-line workers understand the cleaning process, including safe handling of chemicals and proper dilution and use, training procedures must be clear and easy to understand. Employees may respond well to brands that they recognize and can use on a variety of surfaces within a facility. With just a few recognizable products, including multipurpose cleaners, it may be easy for workers to quickly understand proper cleaning techniques.
For example, P&G Professional’s Spic and Span 3-1 spray cleaning formula allows streak-free cleaning and disinfecting. Spic and Span can replace a glass cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner and a disinfecting cleaner. It’s patented, dual-solvent formula is designed to dissolve greasy soils, kill germs like a disinfectant, provide easy wipe-up and then evaporate to leave surfaces streak-free.
Fewer products in the cleaning closet can also help save on inventory management costs and eliminate the need for additional training on how to use multiple products.
You are not alone
Finally, organizations do not need to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to managing training. Product manufacturers, consultants and associations often offer free training materials, technical support and skilled staff to assist with training. Vendors can often supply colorful wall charts and reference cards, and can set up onsite training sessions with employees to ensure they are using their products properly.
What is your organization’s approach to training? How do you simplify the training process?
About Dave Frank
Dave Frank is the president of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS), an independent third-party accreditation organization that establishes standards to improve the professional performance of the cleaning industry. With more than 30 years of experience, Dave is the leading authority in the industry, serving facility service providers, distributors and manufacturers, including P&G Professional, for whom he submitted this post.