I have been working for Cinderellas for many years now. Hired and fired many people. At a time when this industry is thriving, despite all the hundreds of companies trying to undercut each other with their sub standard services, charging the clients rates with which you can’t even pay the workers an hourly rate, getting a job as a cleaner seems to be an option for many out there. We get applications from people who’s “Aim in life”is to be a cleaner! To full time senior accountants who just can’t pay their bills and wanting some extra work after hours. Today I have decided to write about cleaners or Sub Contractors who want to take it a bit further and maybe depend on a majority income source from this industry, and why a typical behaviour might be the reason why most of them fail.
One fine Friday afternoon Mark (our CEO) and I got a message from a well known real estate management company. The manager for this particular company used to be responsible for managing one of the biggest commercial properties in Adelaide. It was obvious, the owners were coming in anytime next week and the incumbent cleaners hadn’t been doing their jobs properly. Obviously the manager “tried his best” for all these years to arrange better cleaners but couldn’t. So he decided to call Cinderellas to arrange 4-6 Good cleaners to clean major areas of this property. If we could sort this out, the Manager would have a great impression from the owners. So we decided to be the good guys and wanted to help this guy out. Even though our major operations does not involve providing people with once off solutions.
One of the areas in this property must be regarded as the “Refuge” for all the pigeons in Adelaide (at least that’s what it looked like). There were many Biohazards, there was Asbestos danger and there were a myriad of underground storage areas and confined zones. We needed to get people who were certified and skilled enough to take this on. So we found the 6 cleaners required, who were “supposedly” the best we had, took them off their regular roster and got them to come work with us. Half of these cleaners do not work for us anymore, but that’s the whole point of this story and will get to that soon.
So we did it, it took us more than two days to finish the cleaning but we did an excellent job. Great reviews and everybody got paid on time. So whats the catch? Not everyone was happy.
We came across many challenges before, during and after the regular working hours in those few days. The cleaners had to re-arrange their own schedule for this, had to have their hands dirty and cope with a lot of difficult situations. Of course for these reasons all the workers were given bonuses which made them earn above their hourly rates. But even then a few cleaners clearly showed their frustrations . These cleaners while in their interviews promised great workmanship and enthusiasm. Their resumes showed in highlights “Team players”. But in actual reality, when you actually put them into the field and to the test they failed miserably. Some of them took longer breaks and other cleaners had to cover them. They were clearly not comfortable outside their cozy office cleans.
Three of these cleaners eventually dropped out of Cinderellas even though we gave them more work. They were the “Reactive” workers in the group. They were always whinging and complaining about how “unachievable” this work is and how some of the work is “not within the scope”, forgetting that doing that “extra” bit can win the client’s heart. I mean of course you can always put this manager’s reputation in jeopardy and just ask him for more money in an effort to exploit the contract, but that should not be the way to deal with a client in an emergency (well that’s not the Cinderellas way!) Cinderellas has a great culture where we do our best even when no-one is looking.
The three other cleaners who clearly wanted the company to do well and acted “proactively.” These cleaners are now all permanent workers. They saw the job on the first day and immediately planned their week out. All of them are now in charge of running big contracts for Cinderellas because they have proven they can be trusted to uphold the high standards of our company and use their initiative to remain effective and productive members of the Cinderellas family. This attitude of theirs shows up every time.
In any work you do, if you take your skills and use it to better the company, not just to earn your wage, that has a much more powerful effect in the future. Always set up a broad picture for the next ten, twenty or even fifty years and grow with your company. Don’t be short-sighted. Use every opportunity to do your best and be the best. Situations like above happen in every company and every industry. People who don’t add value to an organisation, a team, a community usually don’t get the best out of themselves nor do they get the best result for others. The way this story has been written is very raw but hopefully you can see that if you always do your best, use your initiative and are a proactive worker …come and ask me for a job. I am looking to grow our human resource base and we can always do with some more great workers here at Cinderellas.
This article was written by Hussain Azhar, State Service Manager for Cinderellas Commercial Cleaning.
Please click on the link to contact Hussain direct.