On your marks, get set, GO!

8th of August 2012 Article by Andrew Large
On your marks, get set, GO!

Andrew Large, executive vice-president for the World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) and also director general for the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA) in the UK, argues that investment in training during these difficult times is crucial.

Even though London 2012 is in full swing - the doom and gloom is still out there. Whether it is tumbling manufacturing output or low footfall in London's shops, the UK economy looks like it is going nowhere positive any time soon. So now is the time to fire the starting pistol on training your staff - right?

Actually, it is. A targeted investment in training now will go a long way towards securing your company's position in these tough times.

In the first instance, better trained employees give better customer service. Trained staff know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. They are more likely to deliver a service that scores well on quality audits and less likely to damage the client's property. Good quality local customer service is a key factor in retaining and developing contracts, and the better trained that local managers and supervisors are, the more likely that your clients will get the best service possible.

Otherwise, clients may think of looking elsewhere. In today's market retendering is something to be avoided if at all possible.

Investing in your employees also improves the sustainability of your business. It will reduce staff turnover and increase engagement and loyalty. Cleaning businesses are increasingly in the spotlight over their social and labour practices, and good quality training gives you the opportunity to differentiate your business from the crowd. More practically it also gives you an answer when your client says: "We need something for our corporate sustainability report. What are you doing to invest in your people?"

Finally and most importantly, better trained staff will improve your profitability. They will be able to spot opportunities on client sites to sell new services. For example, a pure cleaning contract could be extended to include reception, meeting room management and basic maintenance work.

An existing multi service contract could see energy management added as a real value added service. Moreover, trained staff won't make mistakes that cost money - for example under quoting for one-off jobs that leave you out of pocket or misreading chemical dilutions and ending up with a damaged floor covering and a big bill.

If you want to keep the business you have and grow new business with you current and existing clients, then you need better trained staff. So what are you waiting for?

The CSSA has recently launched a new management training Diploma, in collaboration with Cleanwise and Drury PSM. To find out more visit: www.cleaningindustry.org/news/cssa/view/117

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