Manage by site or by numbers?

Contract cleaning and facilities management relies on being able to manage staff across several different locations with each location differing greatly in both geography, size and character, and much of this responsibility for management falls on our supervisors. Supervisors at other cleaning firms, I’ve noticed, tend to be allocated a fixed number of sites to manage, and I’ve often wondered why this is the case.

It’s clear to me that you can’t assign sites to supervisors because they can be so different. One supervisor may end up with the impossible task of managing hundreds of cleaners over 30 sites, whilst others may only have 40 over the same number of locations.

You can see the problem with this approach – some supervisors will be under much greater strain than others, leading to a drop-off in service quality, reliability and the difficulty of organising sickness and leave cover, not to mention an uneven distribution of workload which can cause resentment and low morale. Overworked supervisors won’t be able to organise their cleaners and cleaning hours as effectively as those only supervising a few dozen cleaning staff.

At Crystal Clean Service, from the outset, we have always assigned a number of cleaners, rather than sites, to our supervisors, ensuring a manageable workload for everyone. Our supervisors all manage teams that are close in size, and when required can switch to cover for leave and illness.

It does cost more, but it’s a false economy to do otherwise– our clients notice and appreciate that their service quality levels remain consistently high, regardless of who is supervising and/or cleaning their premises, and their continued loyalty far outweighs the savings we would make through allocate sites to supervisors rather than teams of cleaners.

We like to look after our staff, because it means they will look after our customers. Well looked-after customers are much more likely to give us the loyalty and return business we need to build and grow a sustainable company like Crystal Clean. And conversely, customers who are feeling short-changed and under-serviced will be quick to appoint new contract cleaners. By looking after our staff and ensuring they have manageable workloads in line with their skills and aspirations, we are creating the conditions for good teamwork and great customer service across the board – something that can be sorely lacking in other cleaning companies!

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