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Train for success


Jan-Hein Hemke, MD of Facilicom UK, discusses the benefits of training and why it should underpin your business strategy to ensure happy employees, happy clients and a happy bottom line.


Training is an integral part of any good business strategy. Regardless of the sector, ensuring that employees are well trained not only supports professional development, but it also boosts staff morale, has a positive impact on your customers, and ultimately your bottom line.


When it comes to the professional cleaning sector, many people outside of the industry underestimate the skills and knowledge required to ensure premises are kept clean and hygienic. However, for any contract cleaning company, people are their prime asset so investing in them is vital. After all, without an effective and loyal workforce, their operations would grind to a halt.


At Facilicom we understand the importance of identifying individual talent and ability. This is why we are dedicated to ensuring our colleagues are trained effectively and fully understand our policies and protocols. This enables them to work safely and respect the environment in which they operate, which in turn, ensures that they are happier, more motivated and provide a better service to customers.


The personal touch


For training to be truly effective it needs to be holistic and ongoing, but it’s not just about giving people the skills they need to get the job done. Coaching needs to be geared towards both operational excellence and the human, social aspect of the job.


At Facilicom, we offer each of our colleagues training in ‘Hostmanship’ – the art of making people feel welcome. Good Hostmanship encompasses areas such as customer care, quality, friendship and hospitality. It begins with a welcoming and open attitude to the people and situations we encounter, and can be as simple as assisting with directions, helping on reception or even just offering a friendly smile. It is understanding that the smallest positive action can brighten somebody’s day. We believe this is a significant way that we can add value to our clients, while enriching our colleagues’ wellbeing.


Hostmanship helps boost our colleagues’ self-esteem and build their confidence to communicate and engage with their peers, clients and customers effectively. This is important as, in many settings, especially in the leisure, retail and hospitality sector, cleaning operatives are often ‘front of house,’ working within a customer’s view.


From the visitor’s perspective, everyone who works in a facility is part of the same team and should be approachable and knowledgeable about the place they work. It is, therefore, logical to develop and embed people skills across the entire workforce – from management level through to cleaning operatives.


48 | TRAINING & EDUCATION


This approach is also a way that, as a business, we can add value to our clients. By developing and honing colleagues’ interpersonal skills, a caring, yet professional, approach is introduced to our work. Colleagues are more motivated and committed to their tasks, have a better understanding of a client’s needs and are more likely to engage in issues rather than just doing the minimum amount of work.


Commitment to careers


People’s first steps into a career in the cleaning industry can be very varied and many have different aspirations for what they hope to get out of it. For example, one young operative was working in the cleaning sector to finance his place at college so that he could set up his own plumbing business. We did what we could to help make that happen and even though he’s now successfully established his company, he still chooses to work some shifts with us.


Others will want to stay in the industry full-time, but work their way up the ladder and training will play an important role in making this happen. It will also help ensure these talented people stay working for your company.


Training helps to put people in control of their own destiny, so showing that you are committed to their personal development and career progression from day one is key. Whether the person being hired is highly experienced or starting their first job, as an employer you need to ensure they can carry out their role effectively and safely.


An induction programme should cover the ins and outs of the role, but is also the opportunity to introduce new colleagues to the expected ways of working and to the company culture. A structured programme helps the individual to settle in to both their immediate and wider teams. The overall aim should be to help fresh starters become productive more quickly and make them want to stay for the long term.


No matter how thorough and in-depth induction training is, it is merely the start – coaching needs to be a continuous process. Over the course of their career – we have operatives who have been with us for over 20 years – rules and regulations will change, new equipment becomes available and people forget things, so it is vital that there is an ongoing educational programme.


Formal management training and mentoring programmes are key to a structured career progression. We run these across the Facilicom Group, and I have been involved in mentoring several people on our ‘Potentials Programme’. People without access to such programmes should not be excluded from climbing the career ladder and management should always be on the lookout for those with the attitude and attributes to develop.


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