December 14 2020

5 Steps for Improving Cleaning Staff Job Satisfaction

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The CNBC|SurveyMonkey workforce survey taken earlier this year, shows that job satisfaction has increased over the last year. They write that the Workplace Happiness Index now measures a 73 out of 100, which shows it has increased with 2 points since 2019. This means employees are more content with the work they are doing, which is beneficial for the companies they work for and for themselves.

In all different industries, companies are increasingly interested in the satisfaction of their employees. It has become clear that the well-being and satisfaction of workers affects different aspects of a company. In the cleaning industry for example, job satisfaction is one of the main reasons for the high turnover rate, and according to research, the turnover rate in the cleaning industry is around 200% on average.

Jim Peduto, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the cleaning industry consultancy, the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences states in a conversation with 4M: “If you look at surveys of what’s important to people in the cleaning industry, turnover is always in the top five.” Company owners and managers want to know what costs they can expect to face when employees leave. Knowing how high the turnover is can help them assess what it might cost them and how to deal with this. When looking at the turnover rate in the cleaning industry, it is no surprise that companies are interested in it.

The high turnover rate in the cleaning industry makes it clear that cleaning staff is not always satisfied with the work they are doing, how they are expected to do it or under what circumstances they are working. It is important for cleaning companies to prioritize employee satisfaction, since it is a key aspect of a healthy business, in many ways.

Why Job Satisfaction is Important for the Cleaning Industry

When employees are unsatisfied with their job, chances are they will want to look for another job, which can lead to a higher turnover rate. In the cleaning industry this can cause different problems.

For example, a consistent cleaning team delivers consistent cleaning services. When cleaning staff is constantly changing, the team must adapt to new employees more often, which can lead to inconsistent results. New employees have to be retrained and need time to get used to the workflow, therefore the cleaning process will go slower and be more inconsistent. This is undesirable for cleaning companies, because great cleaning experiences lead to repeat business and long-term customers.

Satisfied staff members result in a reliable cleaning team that delivers consistent results, but this is not the only benefit of happy employees. Not only does a consistent team deliver better cleaning service, they are also more productive while doing it. Research by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) found that happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees on average. Their report shows a direct connection between employee job satisfaction and their productivity.

It has become clear that ensuring the happiness of employees has several benefits. Not only does it contribute to lower turnover and in this way to increased profits, it also helps boost productivity. Therefore, it is important for cleaning companies to take a look at how they can improve the satisfaction of their staff.

How to Improve Cleaning Staff Job Satisfaction

1) Improve employee job satisfaction by encouraging collaboration and communication

Providing staff with opportunities for collaboration can give them the feeling that they are contributing to their own job. This not only aids in improving their job satisfaction, but also helps stimulate their motivation on a daily basis. When you allow employees to help create solutions for the problems they run into, it will make their work a lot more satisfying.

Providing cleaning teams with the autonomy to locate inefficiencies in their work routine and improve them can aid in boosting their morale. Fleet tracking platforms, like i-Synergy, offer managers reports that track run time, user and square footage cleaned by the machine. This system helps in this way to monitor progress and results, which can then be communicated with the staff. When cleaning teams have insight in what is working for them and what can be improved, the only thing they need is the freedom to create solutions and make adjustments to their routine.

Another thing that can stimulate collaboration between employers and their staff is a culture of two-way feedback. This means giving employees constructive feedback on their work, but also asking for their opinions on your work as a supervisor. By doing this, staff will know their opinion is valued. If done constructively and positively, feedback will help stimulate communication and create a work environment where employees feel heard.

2) Supply the right training for cleaning staff

The impression that cleaning employees can simply show up and provide satisfactory work because cleaning requires no special education could not be more inaccurate. In fact, it is precisely the lack of training in janitorial and cleaning companies that causes dissatisfaction for both employers and their staff.

Cleaning staff that has been trained sufficiently consequently delivers good service and better results. The right training will not only teach staff how to optimally operate the equipment, it will also make them aware of the standards that are expected of their work. This will make them more successful in their work and ensure that staff feels confident doing their job. When employees know what they are doing and can be ensured they are doing it according to the guidelines, they will know they are delivering their best results.

This leads to cleaning staff taking greater pride in their work. And like Ronald van de Pol, agile coach for LEVIY, a software company based in the Netherlands says to CleanLink: “The prouder a janitor can be the happier everyone will be.”.

3) Ensure a safe working environment to increase job satisfaction

Providing a safe space and safe equipment for cleaning employees is key. Cleaning staff have increasingly become front line workers--they need supplies that are safe to their health, they need spaces that are designed with human health as a consideration, as do all workers, and equipment that includes safety features. For example, autonomous equipment like Whiz, is designed with safety as a priority. It uses lidar sensors and cameras to safely navigate around people and other obstacles, has a safety emergency shut off and it takes on any repetitive tasks that might lead to injury.

Research done by the University of Helsinki for the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics shows that “workers who expressed more satisfaction at their posts had positive perceptions of safety climate.” The safety in the work environment corresponds directly with the satisfaction of employees, therefore it is crucial to provide a safe working place.

4) Achieve more job satisfaction by reducing time-stress

According to the 6Q, a survey consultancy site, tight work schedules are one of the main sources for stress and discontent for many employees. When the work pressure is too high and employees experience a high level of stress, it impacts their well-being. This not only affects staff mentally, but also influences their ability to work. The Harvard Business Review highlights how stress can decrease the ability to strategize, innovate and think long term. Therefore, reducing time-stress for your cleaning staff can surely aid in increasing their job satisfaction.

One way time-stress can be diminished is by simply relieving employees of time-consuming and mundane tasks. Assignments like scrubbing or vacuuming floors can be taken over by autonomous cleaning equipment. Cobots, like the autonomous vacuum sweeper Whiz, developed by ICE Robotics and SoftBank Robotics can relieve employees of these tasks.

This way, robotic equipment frees up time for staff to focus on other high-value tasks, which can give more satisfaction than a standard, routine task might give. Employees will now have the chance to use their time for jobs that might require more critical thinking, like problem-solving and optimizing the cleaning processes. This can help make the content of the job more interesting and introduce more variety in a workday. According to Forbes, this is one of the top 10 factors for the happiness of employees.

5) Incentives and acknowledgement to improve employee satisfaction

Cleaning staff, just like employees in any other industry, need a little appreciation when they are doing their tasks well and delivering good results. Employee salaries are, of course, the main repayment for the work they are doing, but acknowledgement for their work is nonetheless very important. Not only for the satisfaction of employees, but also for the company itself. 4M states that employers who recognize their team members’ achievements enjoy a voluntary turnover rate 31% lower than those who do not.

There are different ways to give staff recognition for their work, which are usually easy to implement. Incentives or rewards for delivering consistent results and meeting goals should be a substantial part of a business, since this can help boost the satisfaction of workers. Analysis by Gallup shows that only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.

Rewards can definitely be more than just nominating ‘Employee of the Month’. Acknowledging individual achievements is important but rewarding team or department efforts can also be effective and can stimulate collaboration. A peer recognition program can also be set up to create a way for employees to publicly acknowledge their colleagues for their work. When implementing more incentives like this, staff will gain more satisfaction from their efforts.

ICE Robotics is an industry leading floor cleaning equipment provider. We provide autonomous and intelligent cleaning solutions through a subscription model that includes fleet management software at no extra cost. For more information on how ICE Robotics can help please reach out to our Client Care Team.

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