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With the growing competition in the sphere of cleaning business, the housekeeping companies need to pay attention to effective human resource management within the organizations for the purpose of creating the comfortable conditions for the workers and providing the customers with the high quality cleaning services.
Cleaning materials and equipment
Taking advantages of the advances of contemporary cleaning technologies and materials is important for creating better working conditions for the cleaning staff and increasing the customers’ satisfaction with the quality of the provided services. Buying all the necessary and modern equipment is one of the key success factors of a cleaning company.
The professional housekeepers usually have the vacuum cleaners and floor polishing machines at their disposal which allow them to economize the time required for cleaning the apartments and do it more thoroughly. As to the materials used by employees of housekeeping companies, the contemporary market of cleaning chemicals and detergents offers a wide range of materials with various types of packaging, measurement and used for various purposes during the cleaning process.
All of them have their advantages and disadvantages and the choice of the type and brand of the materials as well as the control of their appropriate and effective use by the staff becomes a challenge for managers and supervisors. Jones (2008) noted that “the use of premeasured products provides a high level of cost control, better inventory procedures, and better quality in cleaning” (p. 116).
Along with the cost analysis and research of the chemical market options, supervisors should generate the awareness of the staff on the appropriate safety measures for working with cleaning detergents, measurement and dilution procedures of the concentrates and the issues of the chemical storage for the purpose of minimizing the risks of cost losses and industrial injuries. Reeves and Reeves (2005) noted that it is important to read and understand the Safety Data Sheets information before utilizing any detergents (p. 82).
It is important to control the expiration dates of the materials and meet all the requirements of their safe storage and utilization. The impact of the chosen materials on the environment is one of the important issues which should be taken into consideration by decision makers. The new approach to the housekeeping services is to clean for health rather than clean for the appearance, and this relates to the choice of the housekeeping methods, materials and the control of the storage of chemicals.
Cleaning staff duties
The human resources are one of the central issues of the effective management of cleaning companies. Training and motivation of the housekeeping staff is important for achieving better results and improving the company’s chances for success.
The main emphasis of orientation programs for the cleaning staff should be put on the safety measures and interpersonal communication with the customers. Andrews (2007) noted that “Housekeeping staff irrespective of their personal circumstances have to always present a cheerful exterior and emotion” (p. 18).
Considering the peculiarities of the field, housekeeping employees have to work closely with clients and the level of their communicative skills has a significant impact on the effectiveness of work and the ability to come up to the customers’ expectations, to follow the instructions and to meet the requirements.
Despite the widely spread misconception that cleaning is a type of physical labor and does not require special preparation and profound skills, the contemporary housekeeping companies pay attention to the personal traits and learning capability of their potential employees.
Morrow (2008) noted that the main requirements for becoming a professional housekeeper are “to have superior organizational skills, respect for client property, the energy and ability to handle larger projects, and are comfortable working closely with clients over an extended time” (p. 57).
Along with taking advantages from the innate qualities of the worker, the employers should create the comfortable working conditions and impose appropriate measures for not only ensuring the safety of the working environment and preventing the risks of their injuries and emotional discomfort, but also motivate them by developing the programs of incentives and rewards.
The main issues which need to be taken into consideration for protecting the emotional security of the cleaning employees include the opportunities for self actualization and satisfaction with the working conditions.
The main difficulty in developing the rewards programs for the cleaning staff is overcoming the subjectivity while assessing the results of their work. Still, the quality control is a significant component of the human resource management of the cleaning company and it is important to choose the assessment criteria for controlling the quality of the housekeeping services.
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At the same time, detecting the deficiencies should not become the precondition for penalties and punishment. It is important to get to the roots of the issues and regard the weak points as the opportunities for training and development. Detecting the gaps, the managers should look for the ways to fill them if it is possible.
Besides the problems which can be handled through training and motivation programs, there are particular difficulties which are predetermined with the peculiarities of the field itself. The limited opportunities for career promotion of the cleaning employees are one of the main managerial problems.
O’Fallen and Rutherford (2007) noted that “because of the large staffs involved, housekeeping operations provide junior managers outstanding opportunities to develop leadership and supervisory skills, an opportunity not always available in other departments” (p. 186).
As opposed to the managers, the career options for the cleaning employees are not numerous. An employee who does his/her work well, knows all the angles of the sphere and aims at further professional growth has minimal chances for becoming a manager. In this case it is advisable to explore the opportunities of transferring to other spheres of business, retraining or receiving an academic degree.
The information on security and risk control measures is one of the key components of the orientation program for the cleaning employees. A number of hazards that are characteristic for the working environment of professional housekeepers include the work with detergents, contact with bodily fluids and security issues.
All cleaning workers need to have a profound knowledge of the preventative measures for controlling the risks of getting physical or psychological traumas at work. They should be aware of the risk they undergo while working with the detergents, and especially their concentrates and contacting with bodily fluids in case they work at a hospital setting.
They should be informed on their responsibility and possible liability for violating the customers’ security. Campbell (2005) noted that “the most common ‘breach of security’ in homes with housecleaners is not theft – it’s breakage” (p. 287). Appropriate security measures need to be imposed for preventing the risks of occurrence of the conflict situations.
Considering the peculiarities of the working conditions of the cleaning employees, the human resource departments should incorporate the trainings on safety and security measures into the orientation programs for their employees as well as to develop the reward programs with the aim of improving their motivation.
Andrews, S. (2007) Textbook of hotel housekeeping management and operations. New DEhli, Tata McGraw-Hill.
Campbell, J. (2005) Speed cleaning: Tips, tricks and strategies to get everything done in half the time. Los Angeles, Rodale Inc.
Jones, T. (2008) Professional management of housekeeping operations. New Jersey, John Wiley.
Morrow, B. (2008) Cleaning service. Ocala, Atlantic Publishing Group.
O’Fallon, M. and Rutherford, D. (2007) Hotel management and operations. New Jersey, John Wiley.
Reeves, D. and Reeves. P. (2005) Commercial cleaning: The power of clean. Morrisville, Lulu Press.