Blog             Improve Janitorial Worker Performance With More Effective Performance Reviews

In a recent poll at The Janitorial Store, we asked how often cleaning company owners did employee performance reviews. A whopping 29% of employers who responded do not do any performance reviews at all. 24% do them quarterly, 15% every 6 months, 25% annually, and 7% other.

You may be taking chances by never doing employee performance reviews. After all, how do you expect your employees to know how they're doing and how to improve? It's also a good opportunity to provide positive feedback, which is important for employee morale. Most employers dread doing them, but when done correctly, you can prevent small problems from becoming big ones.

Here are tips for conducting more effective performance reviews:

Writing employee performance reviews may not sound like much fun, but when done right, improved performance will be your reward.



Preventing Back Injuries for Janitorial Workers

There is one call you can receive from an employee that will send a shiver down your spine perhaps more than any other: "I got hurt." The implications to this call can be HUGE. Of course, you are concerned about the immediate well-being of your employee. No reasonable person wants to see another human in pain. Typically, most injuries in the cleaning business are not life threatening. Cuts, sprains, falls, and other minor injuries are common, and easily treated. Fortunately, most injuries just need some first aid and perhaps some time off.

 Back injuries plague this industry. Twenty-five percent of all workers compensation claims involve some sort of back injury. If you have ever had one, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Unfortunately, they can become chronic and last for weeks, months, or even years. If you have a worker with a back injury, he or she may only be able to do part of the job, or may not be able to do the job at all. You will have to deal with finding someone to fill in or temporarily replace the injured worker. Often when an employee returns to work, they are given "light duty" restrictions based on doctors orders. These restrictions typically involve no lifting over a certain weight, no bending, no raising of arms above the head, etc. This doesn't give a typical cleaner much that they can do. Now you need to find suitable work for them, and you still need to find a way to get their normal duties done.

 In a business where profits margins are slim, it's important to keep costs to a minimum. Many accidents are simply that - accidents. However, back injuries are often preventable. Considering the devastating effects they can have on the employee and the company, it makes sense to do whatever you can to prevent them. Improper lifting, bending, twisting, and excessive weight are common causes of back injury. As part of your initial and ongoing training programs, you need to inform and follow-up with each employee about injury prevention.

 Using proper lifting techniques is one concrete way to prevent back injuries. Include some version of the following procedures in your training literature, and take the time to physically show every employee the proper way to lift.

 To lift properly: 

 Look for and buy ergonomic equipment to protect the body from injuries. Manufacturers are creating ergonomic vacuums, mops and equipment, so watch for these features when buying new equipment and train your employees on their proper use.

 This last tip points out another potential risk for back injuries. Improper vacuuming and mopping can cause back injury, or at the least, back pain. These actions often result in the twisting of the torso, causing a strain on the muscles supporting the back. Combined with simultaneously bending over and lifting, this can cause significant back pain. To avoid this, good posture is important. Keep your back straight, and use your arms to perform the necessary motions to perform these duties. Avoid twisting your torso, and keep bending to a minimum.

 As mentioned, using ergonomic equipment and supplies will help prevent back pain. For example, a properly fitting backpack vacuum should have a properly fitting harness, displacing its weight to the hips rather than the back. Mop handles, vacuums, and attachments need to be of sufficient length so the user does not need to bend over. Microfiber mops are lighter and ergonomically designed so that the back can remain straight while using them. Traditional wringers are being replaced my models requiring less bending and less force to use. Using the right tool for the job, in conjunction with proper training, can avoid the strain on the back commonly associated with traditional cleaning techniques.

Training is not a one-time event. You must always be reminding employees to think about safety in everything they do. When you notice improper lifting techniques, kindly point them out. Oftentimes, people do things without even being aware of them. We learn through repetition, so train your managers and supervisors as well to be mindful of all your safety measures, including back injury prevention. You cannot afford to do otherwise.