Jean Hanson: 4 Tips to Improve Your Employee Onboarding

March 19, 2020 in Hiring, Hiring & Training, Uncategorized

This article is based on a presentation Jean Hanson gave live at the 2019 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

Be sure to check out full replays of talks from Jean and over 40 other cleaning industry experts at

Jean Hanson is the co-founder of The Janitorial Store, My House Cleaning Biz, and Marketing Systems By Design. 

Jean’s websites are for cleaning business owners just like you, because much of her life has been dedicated to improving the cleaning business and how it operates.

 A 32-year cleaning industry veteran, Jean shares what she has learned over the years with other Maid Service owners to help them improve their own cleaning companies. 

In her presentation, Jean discussed onboarding and training, which she says can make or break a home cleaning business.

In this article you will learn:

  • How poorly onboarding cleaning employees can cost your Maid Service money
  • 4 areas of your cleaning business onboarding and hiring process that you can improve today

What is onboarding? 

Onboarding is the process of bringing a new cleaner onto your staff, including their new employee paperwork, training and induction, introduction to team members and probationary periods. 

Effective onboarding is important because these early days are your opportunity to introduce new employees to your company culture, ensure they mesh with other team members and to show them that they are a valuable team member. 

The length of this process can vary, but always remember that a detailed onboarding system indicates thoughtful and comprehensive training. 

Onboarding starts the first day an employee walks in the door. 

woman in green t-shirt and grey denim apron holding yellow tray of cleaning supplies

Why is onboarding important to my house cleaning business?

Within the first 90 days, you could see a 20% turnover of cleaning business employees and this can be costly.

By not planning and and taking the time to create effective systems you can encourage employee dropout.

Furthermore, recruiting replacement costs for cleaning staff can be 30% of a Maid Service owner’s first-year earnings.

Keep this in mind because the quality of onboarding can not only greatly affect the readiness of the cleaner for the position on your team, it can have a huge effect on the overall growth of your Maid Service

You can gain 21% greater profitability with highly engaged employees, meaning that their desire to make your company successful can have an incredible impact on your profits. 

Here are 4 areas of your cleaning employee onboarding and hiring process that you can improve today.

Create a culture of happy cleaners 

Define your cleaning company’s culture by creating a mission, vision, and a set of values and apply it to daily operations.

As the owner, it is your responsibility to help your cleaning staff to feel like they are an important part of your team and that the team is worth being a part of.

During the onboarding process, consider pairing the new cleaner with a trainer who is engaged with your cleaning company values and possibly even someone you are looking to promote.

You want them to see that they are supported with your cleaning company so that they will feel more invested as an employee over time.

Positively influence your new cleaners by making them welcome and helping them to feel comfortable asking questions {link to jean article 2} throughout the onboarding process.

This will help onboarding cleaners to really buy into your company culture and to see how they fit into it.

Demonstrate to new cleaners your entire staff’s ability to work well as a team, highlight important roles or procedures and fully explain your approach to customer service. 

two woman talking, one woman facing the camera the other facing away.

Clarify expectations and what it means to be part of your Maid Service team

In order to instill confidence in your new cleaning employee, you should spend some time defining the expectations of the position.

Your employees should be briefed on the full details of the job that they are agreeing to do at your residential cleaning company.

Don’t assume that just because they came with prior experience means they know how your Maid Service operates. 

Start with the job description and fully describe the duties to the new cleaner early in the onboarding process. 

Create a checklist document so that you don’t miss anything as you are going over the position. 

Be sure to go over the on-the-job specifics, such as getting to the homes, clock-in/clock-out process and start/end times. 

Clarify what it means to be on time at your company. Cleaners will need to know whether they are required to come to the office and clock in first or if they can go straight to the first home of the day when required.

Additionally, be sure to explain how travel-time between locations works for the cleaning teams. Do you pay for miles traveled or do you provide a company vehicle?

Let new cleaners know if they need to clock in and out of work for breaks so that you don’t find yourself battling about the rules once they are settled in. 

Talking about these specifics helps all employees have the same information and for you to maintain consistency with your team’s performance and output. 

a blue gloved hand holding a white spray bottle

Encourage compliance by providing policies and procedures 

In order to show that your cleaning business is organized and prepared to take on your new employee, have your policies available during onboarding.

When explaining the specifics of how your business operates, be sure to clarify with cleaning staff they understand what it all means.

New cleaners should be able to understand your policies and be given an employee handbook with their starter packet. 

Providing a handbook with all of the policies allows them to have something that they can refer back to when they have a question during the job.  

Inform new cleaners about your harassment policies, your drug policies and the discipline that follows a violation. 

a silver desk lamp against a grey background

Emphasize the connection between your newly hired cleaner and your entire cleaning company

Cleaners should understand the roles in your Maid Service and how they all connect. 

They should also feel safe asking questions about their role and responsibilities.

There will always be unique things that come up on the job or methods that are a bit different from one home cleaning company to the next.

Have a system in place that new cleaners can refer to in given situations like when coming across papers stacked on a desk or groupings of toiletries on a counter.

Should they put them away, reorganize them or simply clean the surface and put them back? 

However, even if you don’t have a certain process for a given situation, be sure your new employee feels comfortable with asking questions so that the cleaning clients’ experience doesn’t suffer for it. 

A great way to onboard employees is to communicate clearly and indicate who they should report to if they do have questions about paychecks, calling in sick or taking time off, etc. 

Understanding all the different roles and how they interact with each other will allow your new cleaner to feel confident with their role at your house cleaning business.

Two woman shaking hands, only the hands and forearms are visible.

Take a look at all of these areas of your Maid Service and fine-tune your process, continuously improving over time. 

Key Take-Aways for Improving Your Cleaner Onboarding Processes

  • Understand everything an onboarding system can entail and what should be covered.
  • Do not make any assumptions about what a cleaner may know, even if they have previous experience cleaning.
  • Clearly communicate policies, procedures and expectations.
  • Ensure cleaning employees feel safe and confident to ask questions.

This article is based on a live talk from Jean Hanson which happened at the 2019 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

You can watch the full talk now:

Take a look at more replays of the full presentations given at the Summit by Jean and over 40 other cleaning industry experts at

Check out these other articles on ZenMaid Magazine:


About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc ( He previously started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. His goal with the maid service software at ZenMaid is to help other maid service owners do the same.

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