One of the greatest challenges in running a cleaning operation is to understand how to manage your management team. This is a common difficulty for cleaning organizations. I have seen many operations over the years that do not have the slightest idea as to how and what their managers are doing in the field. An important key to running a profitable organization is making sure your managers are up to snuff in terms of training, maintaining productivity, preventative maintenance and safety compliance.

It is important to have a good training program for everybody. A key function of management is conducting training in an effective manner. Managers must do hands- on training with workers, with a focus on safety, and a focus on the proper use of tools, equipment and supplies. More importantly, it is important that managers are required to hold their training accountable.

A simple way to see that training is being performed is to have managers report training activities they perform when they visit buildings. You should see daily training reports that document the training and corrections made with the worker(s).

Once daily training reports begin to flow, it is important that managers are able to track productivity. Evaluate requests for service and trouble calls with managers. At the same time, it is important to do a walk- through with your customer and coordinate special projects. Make sure managers communicate the expectation level of the customer to workers and the central office. Too many requests and complaints noted while doing the evaluations and walk-throughs may mean your cleaners are not cleaning at the proper speed.

While quality productivity is important, another aspect that you’ll want to measure is preventative maintenance. Make sure managers understand how to properly care for equipment and tools and that they’re doing it. Vacuum filters need to emptied on a regular basis, broken equipment needs to be immediately repaired or replaced and maintenance on equipment needs to be performed on a routine basis. Keep a user log for every machine. Track when the machine goes to work and when it is returned and by whom. Also document who isn’t taking care of their equipment.

Finally, make sure your managers are maintaining your safety program. An undocumented safety program leads to injured workers and increased operating costs. If managers don’t have a clear understanding of the safety program, workers won’t either. Document daily that your managers understand where the material safety data sheet is located, how it is used and that they keep the inventory up to date. Failure to do so is not only an OSHA violation, but dangerous.

By reporting on a daily basis that your in the field managers are tracking these four criteria, you ensure that your managers are being doing their jobs. Managers are only as good as the information they give you.