Recent funding cuts has led training in Australia to become an out-of-pocket cost for many companies. However, what these companies fail to realise is that training is not actually an expense; rather, it is an investment in the stability and longevity of the business, explains ISSA’s Joan Weis.
It hurts to lose an extra source of capital. Australia’s past governments were committed to upskilling the national workforce, resulting in funding and incentives for individuals to undergo training in different vocations. Cleaning professionals, along with millions of Australian workers, enjoyed this government-backed education.
Unfortunately, recent austerity measures have reduced the program’s funding. Training had suddenly become an out-of-pocket cost for companies, resulting in virtual cessation of training for professionals in our industry. What these companies fail to realise is that training is not actually an expense; rather, it is an investment in the stability and longevity of the company, and the morale and growth of its employees.
The common approach to business in Australia’s cleaning industry is to think of the bottom line first and foremost. This is frequently a sound approach. However, cleaning professionals in North America and elsewhere have discovered that, ultimately, training actually enhances the bottom line.
Justify the expense
Some of the primary benefits of training directly impact the organisation, while others start with the employees and trickle through to the company as a whole. Research shows a happy worker is a productive worker, so investing in employees is logical. Six of these benefits are clearly visible in the successful cleaning companies that are emerging at the head of the pack.
- Being the best they can be
Your front-line workers will perform better and have increased confidence, which means greater job satisfaction and less turnover in the long term. Less turnover leads to less administrative work; administrative work is overhead and does not contribute to bottom-line profits.
- Becoming more efficient
Greater efficiency in workers means increased productivity, which adds to your bottom line. It also gives you the opportunity to serve more customers. If one under-trained worker can serve three clients per day, and one well-trained worker can serve four clients each day, top-line earnings have increased by one-third.
- Better interpersonal skills
Your employees become effective ambassadors for the company. You’re only as good as your reputation, and that reputation is largely based on the people out there doing the cleaning. Trained employees are confident and engaged, and make a more positive impression on your livelihood—your clients.
- Increasing customer service
Regardless of the industry, anyone in business knows that a satisfied customer is a potent marketing tool. Your efficient, newly trained employees position you for positive client feedback, and you can spread the word on social media and other marketing channels. As your reputation builds, ask for testimonials and watch your reputation grow.
- Improving health and hygiene in the building(s) served
Healthy workers add to everyone’s bottom line. Mot cleaning helps prevent the spread of germs. However, studies show proper sanitisation of contamination hotspots—frequently handled surfaces—reduces the probability of spreading the common cold and influenza by 80 per cent.
- Extending the life of your cleaning equipment
When workers know the correct mix of chemicals and the proper way to maintain the equipment, your business spends less on consumables. Your workers waste less and keep your equipment in warranty, which adds to your bottom line over the course of a typical year.
The bottom line
Taken individually, these are all useful results for your company, and goals to aspire to. In the context of your five-year plan for your business, these six simple transformations brought on by training front-line workers add up to so much more.
- You have saved time and, therefore, money
- You have achieved greater operational efficiency in your business
- You have reduced employee turnover
- You have elevated your standing in the marketplace
- You have an improved bottom line
The wave of the future
Cleaning companies in North America and Europe have gradually altered their mindset toward spending money on front-line employee training. Most now see it as an investment in their business that shows long-term ROI.
“Training employees makes good business sense,” said Brant Insero, director of education, training, certifications, and standards for ISSA. “It’s about developing your business assets to maximise productivity and longevity.”
In addition, while training and certification of cleaning companies is not yet explicitly required by the United States government, a number of industries maintain standards that do require certified service providers. Certain institutions—including many hospitals, hotels, and institutions of higher learning—will only hire certified cleaning professionals.
“It seems to be the way of the future globally, not just in North America,” Insero asserted. In his position at ISSA, Insero works with cleaning industry professionals in many countries, putting him in a unique position to observe national and international trends. He predicts a gradual evolution in the cleaning industry that started in the United States and is spreading across the globe.
“We’re seeing countries in Europe, and Central and South America pick up on and go with what’s happening in our industry in the U. and Canada. Standards are rising to meet the demands of customers looking to improve the health and safety of their clients, and the overall conditions in the facilities they maintain.”
Insero and his team provide a wide array of training in many regions around the world, including Australia. Seminars, workshops, and webinars are available in all aspects of the cleaning industry, from hard floor care to sanitising surfaces, and for industries from education to health care. Visit issa.com/certification-standards to see the breadth of training programs and the course schedules.
*Joan Weis is a communications specialist at ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first appeared in the March/April issue of INCLEAN magazine. To subscribe, click here.