I am completely convinced that infusing your company with a particular culture and set of values is critically important. In fact, as a business owner, this is one of your chief responsibilities, one you cannot pass off to someone else. An excellent company culture will be one of the main reasons you attract and retain the right kind of people on your team. But is it possible to infuse culture down to the cleaner level? With your cleaners spread out over many buildings, with minimal management contact, and many working only part time, can you reasonably expect to shape their attitudes and actions with the company culture?
I must admit, I have long been a skeptic of the feasibility of reaching our cleaners with our company culture of humility, integrity, excellence, and ownership mentality. Many times over the years I’ve vocalized that we should focus all our “culture making” effort on our management team since we have greater influence over them. But in a recent off-site strategy meeting with my sr. management team, I realized I was completely wrong.
One of the items on our agenda was company culture, and specifically how we could do a better job of infusing our team with this message. We had failed miserably in the past and we knew we could do better. But this time, instead focusing our efforts solely on the management team, we challenged the assumption that we can’t reach our cleaners with the same message. Sure, we understood that our cleaners often work alone, have infrequent contact with management, and often work part time. However, we began exploring all the “touch points” we have with our cleaners, and to be quite honest, I was blown away with the opportunities we had to make an impact.
Here are some of the opportunities to reach our cleaners we discovered, broken down into four distinct stages.
- Employment ads
- Phone screen
- In-person interview
- Employment offer
- On the job training
- Uniforms and badges
On The Job
- Weekly manager interactions
- Manager phone calls/texts/emails
- Janitor’s closet
- Branch picnics
- Quarterly safety “toolbox talks”
- Employee newsletter
- TEAM message at clock-in
- Birthday cards
- Employee section on website
- Video messages sent via text/email
This simple 15-minute exercise showed me, and our entire management team, that we have ample opportunities to impact our cleaners on a personal and cultural level. From recruiting all the way to exit interviews, we have more than enough “touches” to make a difference. The hurdle for us now is developing a realistic plan to make a difference at each of the four levels and then executing that plan.
Here are the actions items we came up with, broken down by stage:
- Recruiting – Craft interview questions that search for our values and ensure that the job offer emphasizes those traits.
- Onboarding – Create a company welcome video that emphasizes our culture.
- Onboarding – All company shirts will now have our values printed on the back.
- On The Job – Monthly “culture conversations” will be had with each employee by their immediate supervisor with cards to be handed out each time.
- On The Job – Branch picnics will be hosted at least 1x per year.
- Corporate/HR – A monthly video will be sent out via text/email to all employees company-wide, created by someone in sr. leadership.
My challenge to you is this. List all the “touch points” you have with cleaners at your company, then develop 3-4 specific ways you can impact them throughout their tenure with your organization. I’m sure you will be surprised at the level of influence you can actually have. Your job is to capitalize on that opportunity for the betterment of your people, your company, and your customers.