Better People Management Leads To Better Quality

Staff Engagement

Are you the coach your team needs you to be?

Too often when we talk performance, we talk about getting more from our team. But what if our team needed more from us to achieve greater levels of performance?

Sports can teach us a lot about team performance. The coaching staff monitor the team’s performance on the field, plan their training and provide focused feedback to each player to get the most out of them. A healthy sports team also has players with various strengths, a strong bench and scouts constantly searching for the best new talent coming through the ranks.

Cleaning can be a blood sport

With sham contracting eroding margins, increasing regulations and higher customer expectations, many cleaning operators are finding it hard to hit profitability and grow. Add to this the low cost of entry and growing unskilled worker base and you have ongoing downward price pressures.

Competing on price alone leads to many businesses suffering as much as 50% customer attrition annually. To combat this many companies are rightly turning to specialization and upskilling their best workers.

Better People = Better Service

A survey in the USA put poor service as the reason for 55% of non-renewed contracts. Far and away the leading cause of customer attrition. In a business where over 80% of the cost base is your Human Resource, investing in their development and tools to support them is money well spent.

This improvement goes straight to your bottom line where each new employee induction has been valued as at least $1000 and the cost of acquiring new customers is around 10% of the value of their annual contract. So we should be aiming for a 10% improvement out of your team to offset any lost margin from price wars.

Keeping good staff

Human resources is not just hiring and firing. It is the art of enhancing the value of your human resource, just as you might invest in other assets for your business.

Too many business owners keep good staff in their current role, scared that if they educate and train them they will leave. In fact the reverse is true.

The top reasons staff give that maximize their retention are;

  • Great training – the more you put into an employee the more obligated they will be to return that favour
  • Reward performance – appropriate salaries to reward the right staff
  • Professional development – not just vocational training, but offer the right staff opportunities to develop new skills
  • Hiring right to start with – hire for attitude and provide support
  • Recognition – one study found 88% of staff reporting appropriate praise from management “very or extremely motivating”, and more important than money in their decision to maintain that employment.

The role of education

Where higher value clients are educated business owners, it follows our team members dealing with them should be too. Sham contracting exists in a world where a lack of knowledge will perpetuate poor decisions.

We need to educate our staff in service excellence but also in business and higher education. Help them be the best they can be, to aspire to excellence and to give back to the business owners that gave them an opportunity.

This education should extend to management, industry groups, government regulators and clients themselves. The BSCAA’s George Stamas was quoted in Inclean June 17 saying “contracts are won on quality, not price”. This can only be achieved through education of all players on what is required to deliver that quality, so all parties get a fair go at a sustainable and rewarding day’s work.

Managing quality to deliver excellence

Returning to our sporting analogy, if a player is not performing the coach must drop them from the team. We use our operations software to track performance ongoing and we can then see where staff need help and which clients might be receiving less service than they should.

A great coach can see cracks appearing early and intervene to recover service levels. These business owners continue to win business and keep it by:

  1. Setting clear expectations with clients,
  2. Clearly passing on these expectations to your team,
  3. Ensuring staff have the skills, tools and knowledge to perform the work,
  4. Providing constant, objective feedback and
  5. Training opportunities to remedy their performance and improve

Being a great team leader is not easy. And to have a high-performance team it is only right our team expects high-performance leadership.

Are you being the coach your team needs you to be just as much as you expect them to be a high-performing team?