New employees participate in a four-hour orientation. And though the class largely centers on company history, policy and procedures, and core values, the curriculum also covers equipment operation, cleaning products and operating procedures.

To maintain a high level of quality in these orientations and ensure that the information presented is pertinent and retained, Sullivan has hired people to attend orientation and share their impressions of the program, similar to a secret shopper.

“Candid feedback like this is great and has tremendous value,” he says. “If you’ve worked in a particular industry for a long time, it’s easy to get programmed to the point where you think you know everything. It’s helpful to bring in a fresh set of eyes to look at our orientation, someone who knows nothing about the business, who can tell us what is right and what is wrong with how we onboard new employees.”

Likewise, because MahlerClean wants to make sure that each new hire is a right fit from day one, those attending orientation are not automatically assured a spot with the company. If the manager teaching the class notices a lack of interest or an inability to retain the information, he or she can ask the prospective employee to rethink his or her employment with MahlerClean.

“We try to invest a lot of time and energy on the front side before we send them out into the field,” says Sullivan. “With direct deposit, newsletters and other communication mechanisms available, once an employee leaves the corporate office, they often do not have a need to come back. After orientation, their relationship with the company is often developed and maintained through their account executive and/or district manager.  To be successful, we have to instill our core values in our management team, and it must funnel them down to the frontline staff performing the work every day.”

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