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How to Keep Your Cleaners Motivated & Safe All Summer Long

How to Keep Your Cleaners Motivated & Safe All Summer Long

Let’s say the quiet part out loud! Every worker, from the newest recruit all the way up to the business owner, struggles to keep their focus and motivation in the Summer. It’s hot, everyone’s routine is thrown off, it feels like someone is always on vacation, people’s kids are at home wreaking havoc, and the siren call of that perfect Instagram summer day off is real.

But, as the owner, your creditors and business goals don’t care if everyone is mentally checked out… so what do you do?!
To keep yourself and your staff engaged this Summer will take a lot more than barking hollow threats. True servant leaders know that with the right creativity and refocusing of efforts, they can reignite the spark of even the most wayward employees.  

As being creative when you're hot and busy is hard, we will do the heavy lifting for you. Here are the top four free or low-cost steps you can take today to turn around your staff’s mood and get them as excited about growing your business as they are about their next summer cookout!

The Right Supplies to Beat the Heat!

Summertime is one of the most dangerous seasons for manual labor employees, as high temperatures can cause everything from heat stroke to slippery hands to foggy judgment. Keeping your employees safe and comfortable requires several active steps from leadership—some are free, some require a modest investment, but all are important!

1. Prioritize Their Safety

Your cleaners need to hear directly from you that it is OK for them to clean slower, take more breaks, and make time to hydrate when working in the heat. The biggest cause of heatstroke isn’t the temperature, it’s employees not listening to their bodies because they think they’ll get in trouble. Your employees need to know their safety comes first, even if it requires turning down jobs where safe conditions could not be achieved.

2. Proactively Communicate Their Needs

Many customers, especially those not home during their clean, are prone to forget to set their thermostats to safe cleaning temperatures. Emailing & texting customers reminders to “Don’t Melt Your Maid” can save your team from hundreds of miserable cleans. OSHA considers 77°F the upper limit for safe, strenuous labor, so it’s worth mentioning to customers that your business reserves the right to cancel service if a safe working environment is not provided.

3. Create a Summer Safe Uniform

Employee uniforms are a critical part of building brand reputation, but when employee safety is on the line, aesthetics and budget come second to functionality. Making smart modifications to your uniform, such as moisture-wicking shirts and long shorts, can allow your employees to clean in the heat with far less strain and risk.

4. Provide Cooling Aids:

While it is easy to say it is the employee’s responsibility to stay hydrated, that is of little comfort when one of your favorite employees passes out at a client's home. Simple employee gifts like branded water bottles and cooling towels help your employees stay hydrated and comfortable! They also reinforce the message that their employer cares about their health and happiness, which goes a long way in today’s job market.

5. Invest In Cleaning Supplies That Do the Heavy Lifting

The most impactful thing you can do to reduce the risk of heat stroke is to make their jobs less strenuous. Innovative tools like Microfiber Wholesale’s contour scrubber can make scrubbing showers and tubs much easier. Our MW Professional Mop system can drastically reduce mopping times. Our High-Reach Duster Kit can eliminate the need to lug around heavy ladders to clean fans and other hard-to-reach areas. Together, premium tools like Microfiber Wholesales can dramatically change the amount of exertion your cleaners have to put in each day, which is critical in the heat, but a huge market advantage all year long!

Let Your Employee’s Performance Shine!

There's no quiet time in cleaning, but summer and late winter are as close as you’ll get. Use the slightly lighter schedule as an opportunity to plan one-on-one performance review meetings with your staff to praise their work and discuss their long-term career goals. Hearing straight from you how much they’re appreciated can recharge your team's batteries for weeks!

If your cleaner’s long-term plans are to eventually leave your organization or the cleaning profession altogether, don't panic! Instead, think of creative ways to help support their dreams and let them build future job skills in their current role. Even small tastes of team management, mentorship, and customer service work can go a long way to helping light new fires in once burnt-out cleaners.

The myth that employees leave bad managers is only a half-truth. The real data suggest employees leave bad leadership and places without development opportunities. By showing interest as the owner in their real aspirations and creating opportunities for your employee to work toward them, you're killing two birds with one stone.  

Your willingness to show genuine interest in their dreams will help them stay and put their best effort forth with you as long as possible. Best of all, your support will make them a great recruiter when talking to their peers about working for you now and well into the future.

Cookouts and Beach Days and Ice Cream, Oh My!

Corporate Culture isn't just the concern of large megacorps. Even small cleaning businesses have a company culture that needs to be fed if you want it to stay strong.

Summertime provides so many easy and affordable opportunities to create space for your team to connect with you and each other on a deeper level. The sense of connection built at team building events fixes so many issues within cleaning companies, from cleaners not pulling their own wait on big jobs to the dreaded no-call no-shows. It's hard to leave your coworkers high and dry when you've met their kids and laughed over food together.

Simple events like potluck cookouts, beach trips, or even ice cream socials can all be done affordably and still provide plenty of opportunities for you and your team to bond. When possible, invite employees to bring their families, strengthening their connection to the team and giving them a rare chance to show off to their families how much they are appreciated at work.

But this only works if you have the good sense to compliment them in front of their family. Cleaning can be thankless work, so giving your employees a chance to have fun and feel proud in front of the people that matter to them most is worth way more than the cost of some popsicles and burgers!

Going To Bat for Your Cleaners!

Telling employees you care about them is important, but actions speak louder than words. Issues like customers canceling at the last minute, forgetting to put on their AC, leaving their kids' summer toys everywhere, and more can turn the Summer into a very hard, hot slog for your cleaners if not addressed meaningfully.

Proactively communicating early and often with customers, getting them to share their vacation schedules early, reminding them to program their thermostats to comfortable temperatures, and encouraging them to pick up items before cleaners arrive, can all go a long way. Share these sorts of communications with your staff as you send them, so your team can see you defending them. They’ll also let you know which emails seem to be the most effective.  

One of the best ways you can go to bat for your employees is something you can do all year long, but summer is a great time to start, which is working tipping discussions into your standard customer scripts. When you bring on new customers or make customer service calls, bringing up hints about the importance of tipping should be the default and come to you as comfortably as asking, "How can I help you?" It may feel awkward at first, but with practice, it will become second nature, especially once you start to see the impact of your efforts.

Your customer service scripts should never sound fake or forced, so write wording that sounds like you, but here's some example to get you started:

Customer Orientation

"After your first several cleans, we'll call you for your genuine feedback, so we can find out what you loved and what you need changed to match your personal taste next time. Remember, our goal is never mediocrity! We don't want our cleans to be fine. We want you so thrilled that you're diving into your wallet and pulling out $20 tips you're so excited about how your home looks!"

Customer Service

"I'm calling you to find out how our cleaning went yesterday, so please let us know what you loved and what you'd like tweaked to your personal taste! I'm so glad to hear you loved your clean! Would you mind doing us a huge favor?! Our cleaners work so hard, but the world rarely gives them the praise they deserve. While we tell them all the time they're amazing, online reviews and getting tips are really the only time outside of us that our cleaners get to feel appreciated and hear how special they are. If you could take a moment to go on Google and type the wonderful things you just said to me in a review and mention your cleaner by name, I can print it out for her, and I know it would mean the world to her.”

At the end of the day, all of these suggestions, from moisture-wicking shirts to cookouts, to advocating for more tips, all share the underlying goal of proving to your cleaners that they matter. While Summertime is full of heat and frustrations, it has been proven time and again that people can rise to the occasion when something that truly matters to them is on the line!

If your employees feel like nothing but a replaceable warm body in your business, even the slightest distraction will throw them off track. If your cleaners see themselves as being part of a team of people they genuinely care about, part of a business they are truly proud to work for, and employed by a boss they honestly believe has their back, there is no seasonal challenge that can stop them. If you want your employees to care more about their job, it always starts by proving you care more about them, no matter what the season.

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