Tonight I will be discussing how you deal with staff, especially staff illness.
That is something that a lot of cleaning companies really struggle with. First of all, please remember, It happens to all of us. Don't think, I'm a cleaning business owner, and, Oh, you know I'm the only one who suffers with this. Every single cleaning owner suffers with it.
Actually all businesses do. So, it's one of those things. Try not to let it get you down too much. But tonight I want to discuss what I did to cut my staff illness down quite dramatically. You'll probably find I am very strict. But, I knew how important my reputation was and how important it was for staff to turn up and to actually do the work they were supposed to do.
As a way of induction, I am Ilze Whiteman. I ran a successful cleaning company for 12 years. And I am now the creator of the Cleaning Coach Training Academy. So staff illness, basically what I did in my company ( you might not agree but I got to a point where I was so desperate. I needed to do something drastic about it) was I used to pay my cleaners a base rate.
Say for instance, eight pounds an hour. That's not what they earned, but that's like a base rate. And then I paid them a pound per hour for, attendance, if they turned up every day. Then I used to pay them an extra pound, for the fact of the cleaning standards and no complaints actually came in. So, it was the base rate and then if they turned up and they would get another pound, and if they weren't then il, with punctuality, always found even if they turned up on time. So, they had to be on time, did the job, not leave early, no customer complaints. And that sort of then runs into the employee of the month I always ran.
Which was if you get to a stage where somebody turn up all week, they weren't ill, no complaint, and did a marvellous job then I rewarded them extra. What I organise for that cleaner of the month was the fact that they actually got their own houses cleaned. You know how you clean like all day in the cleaning business. Your out and cleaning customers houses and then you get home and your just like, oh no, I've got to do my own. So I rewarded my employees that was literally there, turned up on time, they did a cracking job, no complaints, they weren't ill.
They were rewarded by, their house being cleaned and that's was an incentive to get them to turn up. Another a rule I have in my Employee handbook, and remember guys you have to be strict. You have to put your rules out there. You have to tell them before. There's no point in saying it afterwards. Oh, but, Oh look I'm just making these rules up as I go along. Have them in place. Make sure your employees know exactly what's expected of them.
So they had to give a two hour notice if they are going to be ill. There is no, if, but's, or maybe's about that. There is sometimes the fact that they just literally couldn't.
There's obviously extreme circumstances that they really couldn't then obviously there's things in life that just happen and you don't have control over and that's fine. But, they had too, it will be a disciplinary action if they didn't.
But they had to phone two hours before to let either me, or the manager or somebody know. They had to speak to us. Don't send us a text or an email because that's so easily done. The other thing that I found worked really well is I said to most of them, look, if you got a little cold, I mean I'm sort of always been under the impression that I will still go to work because the fact is I'm still going to feel horrible at home.
So, I might as well go earn some money and still feel horrible. You just have to deal with it. But I normally said them them, look if you're going to pull a sicky or be off one day, you might as well be off for three days, and then statutory sick pay comes in. And therefore, at the end of the day you know, your going to lose three days, worth of money. I think they kind looked at me at the time, oh wow. Well if you're going to be off for one day you might as well make it three days.
That way you lose three days worth of money but if you're really ill, you will have that three days off. Because you really need three days to recover if you're that ill and you can't come into work. So, it's just a question of how you want to deal with it. Making sure you're employees know from the start what they need to do, what's allowed, and what's not.
Please don't ever afterwards say this is how it works. If they don't know then they're going to take advantage of you. And when something happens you jump on it like, it's the most important thing and you deal with it. If an employee doesn't, you make an example of them so your other employees can see what actually, well she means like what she says. But you do mean what you say so it's a question of, you have to act on it.
You have to be strict, no leeway. There's no if, but's, or maybe's. And then that way you can sort of cut your staff illness down quite dramatically. And you're just saying to them, look, I turn up every day and I work. I support you, I pay you wages. And I expect the same from my staff. We can't let our customers down ever. Because if you let them down that's your company that's being let down. Your company name is going to suffer, not them. So it's important that you make sure of those facts. And like I say remember they have to phone and speak to you. Yes, sometimes it might be four o'clock in the morning but I wanted them to phone me. Not your husband phone me. You phone me because you work for me, and I want to talk to you if you're going to be ill. And discuss what's going to happen from there. And I will say, if you're really that bad then you need three days to recover. Stay away from work for three days. And I'll make sure this end is covered.
Once people saw that I took this very seriously, it did actually cut my illness down quite dramatically. You know, the early days where you only have, four or five staff and then somebody calls in sick and you already have a whole days worth of plans or maybe even cleaning yourself. And you're like, what do I do now, kind of thing. And you just want to pull your hair out.
So, you know what, have three days off. I promise you they won't have a lot of three days off. Because they know they're going to lose three days worth of money. And then they are, oh, okay, I'll come in then. Too right you're going to come in. And you're still going to do a good job and you're going to make sure that the customer is happy because at the end of the day they pay the bill.
And the two hours very important they let you know that sort of time scale. You might even have a longer time scale. But I think that's very important. So, you have two hours to sort something out. Or let customers or email them before you have to go out.
So you can let everybody know how it's going to work. And always make sure that you do cover. And if you do find cover please make sure they have the same standard as the actually person that's there. That's why I always say make sure you're training is very consistent. Every single person in your business are trained the same way, on the same materials. So, be very consistent with the cleaning.
If the cleaner goes in and they're not as good, you're going to get complaints. And if they're better your customer's is not going to want that cleaner back. So don't put your business in that position. It happened to me. I've had one staff member that they just literally said I never want her back, ever again. She stood and spoke to my daughter for actually, like, 40 minutes and didn't do the cleaning very well. So, obviously that was a hard lesson to learn. But, I did lose that customer. Because she was so upset. But that cleaner worked for me for years, so I thought she was alright. But that was in the beginning of my business. So, I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did.
And then, like I said, once again if someone's out of line, jump straight on it like a hot stone. Because I think that's the most important part. If you can just get people, if you employee people, if you can just get them all to turn up, do a great job, customers are happy, you're happy. And that's such a nice place to be when you don't have to then on top of worry about the illness and cleaners not turning up. Just stick with it and be strict.
And even If it's somebody that you know really, really well, don't let your cleaner see you give preference to somebody else or maybe the first person that worked for your business because you tend to be a bit more closer to them as your business grows. But don't let them get the opportunity to see you do that because that might at the end of the day then cause them to think, well, what's right for her, so they're going to do itas well. But, you lose respect and respect is so, so hard to earn.
Because you have to earn it and once you've lost it from the employees, you've kind of lost it. When you do deal with your staff even when it comes to normal sort of situations. I would always say always feel, deal with empathy and find out the situation first. Don't just jump in and go, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, You haven't or, you haven't, or you haven't. Ask loads of questions, make sure, I mean did they have the right materials? Did they have the right tools? It's all these things that you need to take into consideration when you deal with your staff.
But, feel them first, understand where they're coming from. Ask loads of questions. It might be something simple, like, they even might really struggle or something they haven't done, or it's too heavy, whatever the case may be. Just dig deep and then get them on a one to one basis and say right, what can we do about it, what happened? You might find out that they don't want to work for that customer because of something that's happened, something personal to them has happened.
So, it's always worth finding out, digging, digging, digging. Before you say don't do that again or and don't ever go in, I made that mistake in the beginning where I was like, clean that and clean that, you have not cleaned that properly, do that again, oh, and do it again, and do it again.
I learned that if I speak to my employees like that, then basically the end of the day they're just like, yeah right. They just didn't take no notice. Because I didn't take the time to understand them and to sort of see where they were coming from. And, you know it's hard and when you get to where you have 10 customers, then you get three new members of staff and you're like, yay. Then all of a sudden you lose a customer, you lose two staff and then you're back down again. Then you go up again, then you lose staff again. And it gets to that stage where that's very frustrating.
And the reason I implemented the steps of basically to cut down the illness, I got to a point where I didn't even want to answer my phone. When the phone rang I didn't want to answer it. Because somebody else is ill. I can't afford to, cover... So, I understand, what it felt like.
But basically it's quite simple. I did try loads and loads of different things to try to sort it out but the end of the day those sort of things, worked very well for me. The payment structure, and when I first introduced the payment structure, my staff wasn't too happy that already work for me. But I explained why and I think that they agreed because If you're working as a team, say for instance, there's five people and that one person always lets the team down. So, it brings the company morale down. And it just gets to a point where they're not happy, you're not happy, that other person isn't happy because the other staff members aren't going to be very happy with them.
So, it's a case of talking to everybody.
Right, how can we get this done? I've had this idea from now, this is what we're going to do. If you're going to have one day off, you might as well take three off and not be paid for it. Because statutory sick pay only comes into play after three days and you get paid statutory sick pay. And that's for the U.K. And say to them about the two hours notice.
Make sure they do that and they have to phone you. And they have to phone you until they can actually speak to you. Don't leave an answer phone message. Don't text, don't email, don't Snapchat, don't nothing. You phone and you speak to me. I want to know why you're ill. And if you're really that bad in most cases you'll need three days to recover. So, I mean that's quite simple to implement. Don't go and say, right, I'm cutting down sickies, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Talk to your staff, have a group meeting, and see what they think and they might even come up with better ideas, you never know, to help you deal with staff issues.
Please remember if you've got any comments and you would like more advice or help on this, or even more information on how to easily implement this into your business, leave me a comment below. And if you share this video I will definitely, personally comment below that you've shared it and I'll personally would like to thank you, for the fact that you actually took the time to share. So, thank you very much for coming on live. I will see you next week.