Liz Trotter is a well-established entrepreneur with expertise in multiple fields. Founder of American Maid Cleaning, Liz is a leadership trainer and the creator of Cleaning Profit Builders. She served as a former ARCSI board member and is a partner in Cleaning Business Builders, where she enjoys mentoring other business owners to realize success in their own businesses.
Liz is also a charter member of Cleaning For A Reason and currently partnered with Tom Stewart, Derek Christian, and Troy Knight under the name Castle Keepers operating in Charleston, Greenville, and Atlanta The partnership has leveraged economies of scale with the aim to become a $25 million dollar company within the next 3.5 years.
Why does your cleaning business need a pressure training program?
A pressure training program is a plan to train new cleaners during stressful, pressure-packed seasons of your business. For instance, maybe you’ve experienced a season of high turnover. Perhaps you have a lot of new jobs coming in because you’ve just signed on new clients. Or, maybe your current cleaners are on their way to burnout because they’re stretched too thin. To combat burnout, you’re hiring new cleaners fast.
No matter the reason, you need to train cleaners quickly and efficiently during busy seasons. We’ve all been there! If you haven’t needed pressure training yet, count on it coming at some point in your business. In fact, the best time to create your pressure training program is while you’re in a slower season.
How to train your cleaners under pressure
There are five key ‘C’s’ to build a pressure training program for your cleaning business:
- Cost Management
With these key elements as your program’s foundation, you’ll train new cleaners with a clear plan to relieve the natural pressure that comes from learning a new job quickly.
The methodology for a pressure training program
In this article, we’ll share an overview of the methodology used by Liz Trotter in her pressure training program. The main styles we cover are Weave Training, Team Training, Split Training, and Tech Training.
As we mentioned earlier, the first ‘C’ is to focus on communication. Throughout every part of your pressure training, you need to communicate a clear ‘why’ as to why you’re doing things the way you are.
You need to communicate three big messages clearly. Consider the answers to the three big messages you want to communicate before building your pressure training program*. Once you’re clear on the answers, you can move forward and start building:
- Why are we doing this?
- What is the purpose?
- How does a pressure training program work?
*Though these are answers to big messages, you’ll want to keep your messaging concise. We’ll explain more about this below.
When communicating these big messages, your new hires need to understand how it benefits them. No matter what profession you’re in, starting a new job is stressful. A new job means change and not a lot of people like change. It also means taking in a lot of new information at once.
When training comes across confusing or meaningless, it lowers comprehension and motivation. It also lowers the likelihood of staying with your business long-term.
Finally, the last goal of clear communication in your pressure training is to repeat your message often, which brings us to the next essential ‘C’ to build your training program.
An effective training program is a consistent training program! However, the challenge is that it’s really hard to be consistent when you’re under pressure. You know the feeling — there are a million things to get done, not enough hours of the day, and you end up rushing through things and missing important details.
To start a pattern of consistency, we like to call our pressure training participants ‘pressure pros.’ A fun, endearing name like this empowers participants with a sense of ownership. It also helps relieve some of the pressure that comes with a fast-paced training program.
Next, you’ll want to drive home consistent messaging throughout your training. As we mentioned before, you need to repeat your core messaging as often as possible. (Remember, the big three messages to communicate are Why are we doing this? What is the purpose? and, How does a pressure training program work?)
At first, it might feel redundant to repeat your three big messages, but don’t let that discourage you! Repeating messaging will help your new hires remain consistent, remember the purpose of the work, and retain more information.
The final element of focusing on consistency is to teach the same information to everyone. New and veteran employees alike need to be taught how to clean every room in a client’s home the same way — using the same products, protocols, and systems.
If you change anything about your cleaning process, you’ll need to make sure you inform your entire staff team. This is important for teams to work together effectively, for employees to help train new hires, and to give your clients a consistent experience.
Hand in hand with consistency, you need to keep training concise. Shorten the message, shorten the process, and simplify the process as much as possible.
You can plan to dive deeper into a particular aspect of training after the initial pressure training. In the meantime, pressure training requires covering a lot of information in a short amount of time. To make sure it all fits in, keep each topic concise.
Pressure training your new hires is expensive. On average, pressure training costs up to 15% more than other training. If finances are not managed well, it can cost even more. This is why it’s important to create your pressure training plan ahead of time — so you can avoid unexpected costs from being unprepared.
One way to manage the cost of your pressure training more effectively is to offer special pay for your pressure trainers. Your trainers bear the brunt of the work, and pressure training can be stressful. Offering special pay for these situations can help boost morale and remind them that you value their work. Ultimately, happy employees who are trained well save you money in the long run.
A second way to help manage the cost of your training is to track each day’s expenses closely. Even if you’re generally good at tracking your day-to-day business expenses, pressure training days have the potential to throw you off course. They’re usually busier days with higher demands. Despite the temptation to put tracking expenses on the backburner, it’s crucial to keep up with, even on stressful days. You’ll save yourself the headache of catching a mistake later.
Our final key element is how to configure your pressure training program. There are many different ways you can do this, but we’re going to discuss an overview of the four main styles.
If you’d like to receive a free worksheet with a more in-depth look at these four different styles, please reach out to email@example.com today!
First, you can set up a Weave Training. The flow of this style is to do a brief training on one objective and then practice it out in the field for several weeks.
For instance, during the first two days of the program, you teach new hires how your company cleans the bathroom. Then, instead of moving on to the kitchen, dusting, or deep cleaning right away, you send them out with a supervisor to clean client bathrooms for two to four weeks.
After a month of bathroom cleaning, you then repeat the same pattern with your kitchen training. Next, your dusting training, and so on. We call this Weave Training because you’re weaving new hires into learning skills rather than teaching them everything at once.
The second style of pressure training is called Team Training, which is as straightforward as it sounds: training with a team of new cleaners.
An important thing to note is that it’s rare to find a training supervisor who can manage more than two new hires at once. While it might be tempting to group all your new hires together, it’s hard to get good results that way. Instead, you’ll want to pair up one or two new hires with an experienced cleaner to be trained by. This way, one training supervisor can detail each task to ensure that the new hire understands and performs the objectives well.
Another way you can approach team training is by training one new hire at a time and then having them train the next new hire. This, of course, would all be done under supervision. Empowering your employees to train others helps them retain new information and gives a sense of purpose in what they’re doing.
Split Training is the third style of pressure training. This style refers to splitting up your training modules into more condensed categories.
So let’s say you normally take two weeks to train new cleaners. For the first week, you might cover basic orientation and then jump right into cleaning each different area of the home.
In split training, however, you would condense this two-week training into one week. For the first half of the week, you cover orientation and teach how to clean each room. Then, for the second half of the week, you have new hires practice the cleaning. This could be in a designated training area or a pre-selected client home alongside more experienced trainers.
Finally, the last style of training you can implement is Tech Training. Sometimes Tech Training can receive pushback for being expensive and less effective. However, when done well, it can be a good option for a busy cleaning business.
We see the most success from Tech Training when it’s mixed with other forms of training, such as hands-on, audio, and group training. If you’re going to go the Tech Training route, be sure to include a way for new hires to prove their new skills with an evaluation process.
And there you have it! We hope you’ve learned effective ways to build a pressure training program for your cleaning business. Tell us what your key takeaways are in the comments below!
To watch Liz Trotters’ full presentation about building a pressure training program, visit this link.
Check out the 60+ other cleaning industry experts who gave presentations at the 2021 Maid Service Success Summit. Check out the full replays of each of the talks at maidsummit.com
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