Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Friday's Ask the Experts: Employee Issues

June 18, 2010
Friday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: We have been Team Cleaning in my building for about 1-1/2 years. I have one custodian who has not stopped complaining to the teachers and other staff about "TEAM TORTURE" as she calls it. Also, she complains non-stop about the backpack vacuums we use. She moans and groans and grumbles the entire time she is using it, and tells the teachers and staff how awful it is, how heavy, what a terrible job it does, and how she is living on pain pills because of how badly it hurts her back. How can I get her to climb on board with the rest of us and move forward and upward with our new system of cleaning. We are also Green and there is nonstop complaining to teachers and staff about the products not working and how she has to work so much harder. I need some advice on how to deal with her. All the management classes I have had don’t seem to work on her. She is bringing the rest of the team down with her. She already has the new custodian on board with her, which is causing considerable issues.
The answer:
Your problem custodian fits into what I call the 80 -15-5 rule. 80% of your staff will go along with what you tell or ask them to do, 15 % will need more attention, training, coaching or other approaches to get them onboard and 5% are never going to go along regardless of what you do, because it''s not a you issue, it''s a them issue. If you gave them a gold platter, they would complain that it was too heavy to take home. These people tend to complain loud and long about everything in an attempt to shift the blame from themselves to others (supervision and management).
What you can do depends to a large degree on whether there is a union involved and what your work rules are. If there is no union, quit messing with the problem and free her up to find a job where she will be happier. If there is a union involved, your approaches will be more limited. Here''s what I''d try...
Bill Griffin, President
Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc.
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