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Management And Training

Human Capital: Your Best Investment

September 19, 2010
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Running a quality, well-managed cleaning organization requires productive, eager employees who want to do the best job possible.

It is the performance of an organization''s people that distinguishes top-performing companies from those that may not survive. This is especially true during a recession.

Next to cost, your people might be the reason why a customer chooses — or doesn''t choose — your company over another.

The challenge for business owners and managers is employee motivation.

During a down economy, employees experience increased stress and feelings of uncertainty.

Moreover, they likely have been told not to expect rewards through wage increases and cash bonuses, regardless of how well they do their jobs.

Though budgets might not allow for monetary rewards, it is important that managers still find ways to reward employees with other types of recognition.

Employee recognition is a critical component of human resources management — a key principle of ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS).

All cleaning organizations should have an employee recognition program in effect indefinitely, regardless of the state of the economy or the business.

Recognition programs can create a positive cycle of employee engagement and motivation, resulting in increased job performance and, therefore, increased organizational performance.

The best part: The financial investment on the part of the organization is limited.

Eight Ways To Recognize Employees

There are many ways to recognize and reward employees.

The best ideas are creative, tailored toward individual employees and equally powerful for both the organization and the employee. Below are eight ideas for starters.

  1. Give praise. Nothing is more motivating than hearing "great job" from an employer. When praising an employee, explain how you feel about the employee''s work and how the work added value to the company. Be specific, calling out particular tasks in the job well-done.

  2. Say "thank you" and say it often. Show your appreciation for employees'' hard work and contributions for the smallest accomplishments as needed — daily if appropriate. Also, say "please" often. Employees and colleagues appreciate a more gracious, polite workplace.

  3. Offer work-life balance. Employees appreciate it when their employers acknowledge the fact that they have families and lives outside of work. If possible, offer staff members flexible scheduling for holidays and other significant events. If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their co-workers.

  4. Set the stage for promotions. Talk to employees about their future with the company and their career goals. Then, help them create a path to get there with a clear understanding that promotions will be based on exceptional performance.

  5. Provide visibility. When praising or rewarding employees, do so during a staff meeting or another group event. The recognition might seem more meaningful to the employee with others present. Also, other employees will notice the impact of a job well-done and will strive to do their best. Another way to give employees visibility is to present them with a letter or e-mail of recognition, copying upper management and/or the company chief executive officer (CEO).

  6. Increase responsibility. Empower workers by allowing them to take on more responsibility. Assign an employee to be the lead on a project and give them credit for doing so.

  7. Present awards. Create company plaques and certificates that workers can take home or display in their offices. Include the employee''s name on the document and a description of what he or she did to earn the recognition.

  8. Supply gifts. If budgets allow, organizations can reward employees with small, memorable cash gifts, gift cards or a free lunch.

There are many more ways to recognize employees and thus increase motivation and employee engagement.

Nothing drives performance and profitability like engaged employees.

With an employee recognition program, organizations come out on top regardless of a down economy.


David Frank is a 30-year industry veteran and the president of the American Institute for Cleaning Science. AICS is the registrar for the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standards certification program.

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