BIG WINS vs. Small Wins
What does a ‘win’ look like in your janitorial business?
Off the top of your head you might be thinking things like:
- Winning a bid over your competition
- Pleasing your clients, earning new business from a referral
- Hitting a milestone like 20 years in business.
It’s important to celebrate big accomplishments like this because it unites everyone around achieving common goals.
Anyone who has worked in the janitorial industry knows that these victories are sweet, but that the road to achieving them can be long and bumpy. It takes a lot of hard work and elbow grease, quite literally sometimes, to achieve them. When the majority of the work you perform for your clients falls on the shoulders of your cleaners, celebrating the small wins on a day-to-day basis is just as important for morale.
The big accomplishments might mean a lot to you as a business owner or senior manager, but for your cleaners and supervisors it’s the workday events that “ignite their emotions, fuel their motivation, and trigger their perceptions.” Looking for small things on a daily basis also helps create a more positive work environment overall.
So what do we mean by a ‘small win’? These are things that will probably mean more to your cleaners personally than to you. Regardless of what personal motivations each cleaner has for doing the job, if you can help them feel like they are making progress on meaningful work, and they can feel happy, they will be more likely to stick around.
Explaining the impact that a clean space has for your clients helps your cleaners understand why their work is meaningful. When the nature of a cleaner’s work is very black and white (the tasks are either completed and the space is clean, or it isn’t), the tricky part is how to recognize that they are making progress.
You can do this by making the ‘wins’ about the behaviours you’d like to see on a day-to-day basis that lead to good results, as well as the results themselves. Remember, to your cleaners, this job is an opportunity for professional development. Celebrating small wins that relate to success in their professional development is a meaningful way to recognize their progress.
Where to start
When it comes down to it, the ‘small wins’ are the accomplishments your team achieves on a daily basis. If you’re looking for a win, no accomplishment is too small. If they proved that they had focus, good intent, and put in the effort to achieve it, you can consider this a win and it’s worth recognizing.
It’s by celebrating the little wins, that you’ll be able to energize and retain your employees so that you can keep working together towards the big wins.
You’ll notice that it becomes easy to pick them out when you think of the behaviours that drive results for your business like:
Your clients are counting on you to deliver excellent quality service consistently. Life can throw a thousand curveballs at us in the run of a day, week, month or year, and being able to persevere and maintain consistency can be a challenge. You can recognize this based on your timekeeping records and inspection results: which cleaners always arrives to work on time? Who always stays the full shift to complete all the tasks listed in the scope of work?
Coordinating a remote workforce is infinitely easier when people communicate openly and effectively with each other. Celebrate the ‘small wins’ by recognizing when a cleaner reports a problem proactively, follows up with you on a special work order, and especially when they communicate valuable feedback about their experience or challenges in a way that helps you make improvements to your operations.
When a cleaner puts in the effort, it’s a sign that they are dedicated to the job, to you, to their team, and to your clients. If you notice a cleaner going above and beyond the expected to see something through, like staying a bit longer on site, proactively looking out for the client’s needs, or even showing patience and flexibility in a challenging situation, it’s a win.
Last but not least, is stellar results. If you’re doing an inspection, and the cleaner knocks it out of the park, it’s a win. Even if it’s not perfection, but you notice that one of your cleaners always does a particularly great job at cleaning restrooms (it’s always so fresh in there!) - consider it a small win. Rather than simply mark this inspection point as ‘met standards’, take note that it exceeds standards and tell them they did a great job.