Inspections ensure you are providing consistent and high-quality work. They make sure your customers are happy and are a proactive approach to handling any complaints that might head your way. Additionally, they also serve as a continuation of training for your employees. Expert supervisors can spot when incorrect or old methods of cleaning are being performed, and a great inspection report is the perfect opportunity to educate your workforce.
Inspection reports are the foundation of a company’s quality assurance process, since they ensure the scope of work is being completed in a consistent manner while providing the feedback necessary for your team to improve. However, an ideal inspection report also improves employee engagement by simultaneously informing your employees when they are doing a great job. Employees who feel appreciated are much more receptive to working on the areas where they need to make corrections.
The most efficient way to create impactful inspection reports that can easily be shared with your team is to embrace a mobile software solution. Regardless of which software platform you choose, here are a few tips on how to properly configure and deliver your reports to boost employee performance.
Tip No. 1: Organize Reports by Room
Train your inspection supervisors to walk through a facility room by room. Begin with the front of the building then progress throughout the facility. Inspection reports should include every room and have appropriate labels. This will allow the inspector to perform inspections by individual areas, not tasks. This approach is more informative than grouping areas by type (i.e. restrooms) or by fixtures (i.e. desks) since one group of restrooms might pass inspection, but another group might not.
The same idea applies to fixtures, since office spaces usually have multiple locations for desks and only some of them may pass inspection. This makes it easier for cleaning technicians in the field to quickly identify which areas of the building need more attention.
Tip No. 2: Review the Details
Review everything from the floors, to the fixtures, to the garbage cans. Be sure to review all windows and glass for smudges and fingerprints since they are easily noticed. Additionally, train inspectors to never miss reviewing a bathroom or high-traffic area. These are high-priority areas and they must always be inspected and reported on. We also recommend that inspectors review the supply closet since that is the area where all work begins and ends for a shift.
Step No. 3: Define Your Grading System
After setting up your report by areas and rooms, the next step critical step to formulating an inspection report is defining your grading system. Currently many supervisors use a grading scale that ranges from 1 to 5. Others use language like “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” or a color-coding system (for example, red, yellow, and green). We recommend a different approach.
Recent studies, along with industry experts who presented at the 2019 Clean Buildings Expo in Baltimore, MD, have shown that employees respond negatively to these classic grading scales and it reduces job satisfaction. To increase employee engagement, try using one of two options: “Great Job” or “Let’s Improve.” By using language like this, leaders can reinforce the notion that everyone is in this together (because we are), and that as a team they are always striving to improve on what the team is already doing correctly.
Employees feel more included and less like a number in the system when managers use inclusive language. When your company grows larger, the sad truth is that your workforce feels less connected, so carefully choosing your words and how you deliver feedback to employees (whether good or bad) is critical. Additionally, when an employee receives an inspection report, the positive results of the inspection should be delivered before the list of corrections.
Step No. 4: Provide Visual Feedback
When a correction is needed, include a photo with specific and direct notes. If your software allows you to mark up photos (the ability to draw on the photo itself) then use that feature to its full capability. If a partition was left dusty, then take a photo of it and circle the exact portion that was missed. Using direct language with the combination of detailed photos allows employees to instantly understand what needs improvement. Providing detailed notes and photos while also still using inclusive language not only helps your workforce make corrections easily, but also ensures them their hard work is appreciated.
Step No. 5: Use Mobile Messaging
The medium companies use to deliver inspection reports to employees is important, as is accessibility. If your software allows for reports to be delivered in multiple ways, speak with your employees to see which method they prefer. Sending inspection reports to an employee’s email addresses and via text messages is an option (but only if the employee consents to receiving reports in this manner).
When possible, take full advantage of any mobile messaging options. Many employees in the field are not checking their emails as much as office staff. But in this day and age, almost everyone checks their phone in a timely manner. This also makes it extremely easy for employees to pull up reports at any time they out in the field, particularly if they need to review the areas where they need improvement.
Furthermore, if your software has a mobile app where employees can read their inspection reports and then electronically confirm they read them before beginning a shift, that is ideal. This process allows for managers to clearly communicate and confirm expectations with their employees.
The Importance of Proper Setup
Inspections serve many purposes—they keep your customers happy, your workforce informed and well-trained, and they also serve as a way to track rock star employees that deserve to be rewarded, and in some cases, even promoted. Take the time to create a solid inspection report template since it will reward your organization in a multitude of ways. With today’s advancements in technology it has become even easier. Look for software that provides analytics about your workforce and which employees stand out. They could be your next best inspector.