Five Tips to Make Custodial Training Easy, Effective, and Fun

by | Jul 14, 2021

Cleaning contractors need cleaning workers, and they need them now. Last year, as businesses and facilities around the country closed, workers were laid off. Currently, contractors want many of those workers back, only to find they have moved on to other jobs, are now working with other cleaning companies, or are employed in entirely different fields. On top of that, when contractors find new workers, they soon realize they must start at the beginning. Quality custodial training ensures that workers learn how to perform cleaning tasks properly and effectively.

Custodial training takes time. It must be done right. A well-trained custodial worker creates a myriad of benefits. They perform better while being happier on the job. Because they feel like valued professionals, they show more loyalty to the company. Lastly, the customer feels more satisfied, because the work reaches a higher quality.

When it comes to training, we should not take any shortcuts. However, there are ways to make training easier, faster, certainly more effective, and more enjoyable both for you and your new hire. Here are five ways to do it:

Tip 1: Begin with the End in Mind

This is so often overlooked and yet so important. When I was in the business, I would take a new hire and show them exactly what a clean and healthy restroom looks like. Then, point out the shine on the lobby floor and tell them, “This is how we want — and how the customer wants — that floor to look.” How else are they to know?

What we are doing is clearly defining our goals and objectives. Let’s face it. We are in a visual industry. We can test surfaces to see if they are healthy and pathogen-free. (In fact, in light of the pandemic, we must test them.) But we also want these surfaces looking their absolute best. Showing the new hire how you want them to look is the first step in accomplishing this.

Tip 2: Know Your Workforce

So often, cleaning contractors have a “me and them” attitude toward their workers. You’re the boss, and they are the workers. This may be technically true, but it does not always lead to healthy working relationships, and it rarely facilitates effective worker training. In reality, the boss and workers are in it together, sharing the responsibility for creating a successful cleaning operation.

No training should begin until you walk awhile in your new hire’s shoes. Understand where your new worker is coming from. Try and determine if they can learn fast or may need more time. Are there language issues? Will they learn best working with someone else, a mentor perhaps, or, as we will discuss later, benefit most from a self-training system? Knowledge settles in different people’s minds in different ways. Getting to know your new hires well helps determine what types of training will work best for them.

Tip 3: Value Learning

Just remember, everything in your business operation starts at the top. If you value training, your staff will value it, and the opposite is true as well. I would encourage new hires that the business’s success is on their shoulders as much as it is on mine. The company has goals and values, and to achieve those goals, we all must place a high value on worker training.

Tip 4: Training One, Two, or Many

Let’s say you have just hired three new custodial workers. Should you train all three at the same time? If you go back to our earlier discussion about knowing your workforce, you likely know the answer. In most cases, it is best to train each new hire individually. Remember, there may be language issues, different learning styles and skillsets, etc. However, what you can do is meet with all the new hires at one time to talk a bit about the business. New hires want to know for whom they are working. Discussing the company’s history gives them a better feel for the company and opens the door to company loyalty.

Tip 5: One-on-One Custodial Training

We’ve already discussed that, ultimately, one-on-one training is the most effective way to train new custodial workers. However, how that one-on-one training is accomplished is key to successful results. The old way to perform one-on-one training is for a supervisor, or another worker, to show a new hire how to perform a task, move aside, and then let them practice it. This works, but we must go back to what we said earlier. Everyone learns at a different pace. Some workers get frustrated and embarrassed in front of their trainer if, for instance, they fail to operate a machine correctly. Once frustration builds, a wall goes up, blocking effective training.

The way around this is to allow the worker to play, pause, and practice cleaning techniques. This is best accomplished using electronic tutors and training videos attached directly to the cleaning equipment they are using. The Kaivac KaiTutor™ is considered the best in the business when it comes to play, pause, and practice learning, and users report it fun to use. The system includes an entire training library of cleaning best practices helping to produce consistent high-performance cleaning results.

Robert Kravitz is a former building service contractor, having owned, operated, and then sold three contract cleaning companies in Northern California.He is the author of two books about the industry and continues to be a frequent writer for the industry. Robert is now president of AlturaSolutions Communications, which provides communications and marketing services for organizations in the professional cleaning and building industries.
Robert Kravitz
  • No products in the cart.