How to Train and Evaluate Your Housekeeping Staff

Published on August 22, 2018

Great skills and a great attitude! Those are the keys to great staff success. Click To TweetFinding good housekeeping and cleaning staff is one thing, but keeping them well trained with up to date skills is of equal importance. When being in charge of housekeeping or cleaning staff you will come across many challenges.

Providing regular training is key in keeping your staff happy and loyal, working well together and independently, and – perhaps most importantly – keeping them performing to the highest standards with up to date skills.

Evaluating your staff regularly will also help staying ahead of any issues, and keeping your team performing to the highest standards. Regular staff evaluations are also highly beneficial in catching potential issues before they turn into bigger problems.

Challenges you might face when dealing with cleaning staff

Keeping cleaning and housekeeping staff managed well is challenging on different levels. Common challenges you might face would either be related to the skillset of the individual, attitudes or teamwork.

Looking at the latter first, whether you have a very small team of 1 or 2 housekeepers, or a large group of people, having everyone working together with strong communication is key to success. You can notice issues with teamwork if there is a lot of miscommunications, people blaming others for tasks not performed or blame being passed on tasks not executed well. If team work is lacking, regular staff meetings can help in giving everyone a voice, opening up the opportunity for everyone to talk about concerns and issues so that they are dealt with instantly instead of lingering for too long. Having regular team meetings will also give the staff the feeling like they are being valued and listened too.

Issues with attitudes can be found in people being regularly late for work – leaving early, not being able to take on constructive criticism or not being polite to guests. Attitude issues can be dealt with by scheduling in 1-1 talks addressing the issues, making sure the staff member is being listened to so you can understand the reason behind their attitude. Perhaps they are struggling with too many tasks, too many hours or problems at home. The staff member should be given support where appropriate, but it is also important to set boundaries and clear limits – making sure the staff know that certain behaviour is not acceptable and their job could be at risk.

Skillset is of paramount importance for your housekeeping staff – they simply must be able to perform the tasks well that you have given them in their job description. You might notice beds not being fully made according to the right standard, silver not being polished in the right way or the wrong cleaning products being used to remove stains.

The good news is that skills can be taught. The key is to provide concrete skillset training with lots of practical modules for your staff to actually physically do the tasks, go over it again and again until it becomes natural for them.

People cannot learn housekeeping and teaching skills from a book. It is vital that during training they will be on their feet, using different cleaning products and tools and are given small concrete tasks to complete. A good training task is stain removal on different types of material. Stains can be coffee, red wine, blood, etc. Get small cut outs or samples of silk, wool, carpet, etc and let them practise different techniques of stain removal until they get it right.

Why does your cleaning staff need training?

However experienced your cleaning and housekeeping staff may be, everyone will need training. People who have been doing the exact same job for a long period of time might become slightly complacent – when routine kicks in smaller details will be missed and standards will drop.

Equally so when new members join a team it is important for them to receive training so you make sure they are working to exactly your standard. Consider teaming one of your new members with a more experienced one. Not only will they be able to pass on skill and routine as per your standards, the idea of a ‘buddy’ system will give the new employee a sense of support to use when management can feel distant or intimidating.

Training provides a safe space for your staff to go over current tasks, improve these skills and to learn new skills. Being in training allows them to practise and make mistakes – so that they will not do this on the actual job. It takes the ‘new’ away from using a new product or a new technique and they can confidently apply this as it has been practised many times in training.

Repetition is key. By providing regular skill training for your staff you are guaranteed that they will remember the tips, tricks and skills being taught. These training days also double up as team building to create bonds, support and improve communication.

How and why to evaluate your cleaning staff?

Evaluating staff is crucial so you will keep an understanding of skill, performance and job satisfaction.

You can set up regular dates of evaluation; this could be a full day or a shorter timeframe. Either yourself or an external training professional will shadow the member of staff in a select amount of tasks. You or the trainer should keep notes and a tick list of things that are going well, and things that require improvements. Listed should be concrete skills – like turndown, bathroom cleaning, but also things like speed and efficiency, and overall presentation.

After the shadowing part have an open and honest, but positive, feedback chat with the employee discussing your findings. Always remain constructive in your criticism and offer a plan of action when there are issues that need dealing with. This could be providing extra training or support of buddying this staff member up with a more senior housekeeper or cleaner to better learn the ropes.

Scheduling these regular evaluation times not only keeps you up to date and on top of the functioning of your cleaning staff, it also makes them feel valued because you are investing your time in supporting and providing options for growth. After all – staff that feels happy and appreciated will be loyal, hardworking and likely to stay with you for a long time!

Polo & Tweed provide the highest standard, completely tailor-made Housekeeping and Cleaning training. We run regular small group courses and provide private and tailor-made packages for our specialist trainers to come to your hotel or property. We would love to chat with you about all the different options we have. You can contact us by clicking here and we look forward to speaking with you!

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