How to ID the best cleaners to support your overworked janitorial team

This year, commercial cleaners’ duties everywhere shifted from routine cleaning to protecting the public against the threat of coronavirus infection. But with that has come extra responsibility … and janitorial workforce fatigue.

Gone are the days of simply emptying trash, vacuuming and wiping things down. Janitors are now responsible for keeping facilities cleaned and disinfected with unprecedented frequency and attention to detail.

In-house janitorial staff faces the burden of increased expectations and huge workloads. The surge of demands they now must address means they’re likely experiencing some element of workplace fatigue. It’s an issue we’re regularly hearing is a top concern for organizations.

For that reason, your custodial staff may be feeling weary – and relying solely on your employees to keep up with cleaning and disinfection needs isn’t always sustainable. One solution is to hire an outside commercial cleaning company to provide additional arms, legs and expertise to support your team.

No matter who you work with, consider these factors when hiring a cleaning service:

  • Certified/trained teams. It’s crucial that COVID-19 disinfection is done by a company with the proper permitting, training and experience – otherwise, your business could face a potential health disaster. To reduce risk, work with a company that adheres to OSHA, CDC and EPA-approved procedures and only uses federally approved chemicals. Ideally, your cleaning service will have third-party training from organizations such as ISSA and GBAC.
  • Retention. It’s a good sign when technicians stay with a company for a long time. High retention rates mean less time is spent on training and more time is spent on quality, consistent cleaning. KleenMark’s staff turnover rate is 4.5 times lower than the industry average. Always ask about retention and turnover when looking for a new cleaning partner.
  • Scalability. Make sure the commercial cleaning company you’re working with has the ability to quickly scale and support your specific industry needs. For instance, do you need rapid COVID-19 disinfection services? Or, do you require specific certifications and industry-focused training? Always ask about each, as it can determine if you get the service you need.

Additionally, we’ve found two straightforward tactics that will improve your internal team’s morale and focus:

  • Training – Since COVID-19 hit, everything from safety to proper disinfecting practices has become increasingly important. For any team, the new expectations can overwhelm. Make sure you provide regular training, ideally involving a third party. 

    Try to offer different types of training as everyone learns differently. Consider group and individual courses, as well as in person (when appropriate) and virtual. ISSA offers a variety of resources we’ve found useful during the pandemic. 
  • Team buildingWhen you’re going 1,000 miles per hour, it may seem difficult – or even a waste of time – to get your team together for team building. But trust us, it’s worth it.

    Why? Everyone needs to understand their value, especially during the pandemic. Your cleaners, supervisors and everyone else on the team are heroes, and it’s important they know that. Recognize them for it in a genuine manner. Morale and productivity will go up. The stronger the team, the better the results.

About the Author

Mike Staver is director of operations at KleenMark. He oversees a team of more than 800 professional technicians who clean 20 million square feet each day.

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