Laurence J. Peter, an expert in business organizations, observed that in hierarchical organizations, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence: “The Peter Principle.” Peter observed that new employees typically start out in the lower ranks of an organization, but when they prove to be competent in the job, they get promoted to a more difficult job. This ladder-climbing process continues until the employee reaches a position where he or she is not successful.

The Peter Principle had the cleaning industry in mind — and this issue’s cover story bears witness. Many in-house cleaning employees start out as front-line workers and usually, the best among them eventually get promoted to a supervisory-level position. This transition from cleaning worker — a good worker, responsible for cleaning — to supervisor — a team leader, responsible for people and various management duties — is tough for someone who doesn’t have the latter skill sets.

As you’ll read in the cover story, many employees struggle with the job requirements associated with a competent supervisor. The story also offers ways to outfox the Peter Principle: hands-on training, mentoring, educational courses, to name a few.

You already are benefiting your department with a “promote-from-within” policy. You save time and money by skipping the recruiting process. You already know current employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and they will want to stick around if they know a promotion could be in their future. Helping employees make the transition is half the management battle.