Managers should always be watchful when it comes to productivity and this is valid for company employees as well as subcontractors such as your cleaning company. When productivity declines the manager feels the heat.
When performance is an issue many managers feel the need to over-manage in these situations. However, there is a great amount of management thinking that says when people are over-managed it is counterproductive and this can lead to even lower productivity.
With a sub-contractor such as your cleaning company, a powerful approach to consider is to make sure you hire the right company and then to communicate effectively to make sure that they meet your objectives without over-managing or wasting time.
Here are some specific ideas.
As the manager you need to build the team. This means that first and foremost you need to decide upon your standards. Then the next step isf to decide the way you want the cleaning company to operate within these standards before you do the research and start interviewing cleaning company candidates. To hire the right cleaning company is the most important step.
You may also want to decide if you need a company that is both regular (like clockwork) but that is also flexible. Some companies need their cleaning company to be there at a particular time every week with no variation and other companies need to have some flexibility to match their changing conditions. Make sure you know what you want before starting the interview process.
During the interview, be clear with your requirements. Don’t leave this up to the cleaning company to guess or assume. Above all, let the cleaning company know your expectations.
Hire the company that will be the right fit for you and your objectives and your thoughts about over-managing may never even begin to materialize.
Set clear expectations based on your cleaning goals. Let the cleaning company know that you will be monitoring their performance.
A top level cleaning company will have valuable inputs on how to clean well and efficiently. Get their inputs. They have the experience and it is worth while, as a manager, to get input from the people doing the actual work. This will also cause the cleaning company to be more engaged with you and your company. It will make them better as they have contributed to forming your objectives and how to achieve them.
Let the cleaning company know that they are important to the performance of your company – that they are part of your team.
Communication on how they are doing allows them to understand how you view their performance. Just like you will review a company employee’s work you need to review and provide feedback to your cleaning company.
Do not be ambiguous. Do not say things such as “You have to do better.” You will know exactly what this means but few others will. Be specific with what you want.
Open communication is key to decreasing the desire for micromanaging. When your cleaning company feels they are being closely scrutinized they may perceive a loss of trust or that they did something wrong.
Make sure you keep the line of communication open and this will make everything better and more productive. Also, do not make quick judgments. Ask for an explanation if something was not done to your standards. This enables 2-way communication. Perhaps there was a simple misunderstanding and a straight-forward discussion will sort everything out.
Teamwork goes hand-in-hand with accountability and you need to make sure that your cleaning company is accountable. Hold your cleaning company to a high accountability standard and a good cleaning company will have no issue with this.
Again, let them know that they are an important part of your team. Stress that all members of the team are accountable. Let them know that you expect them to do their job to the highest performance level they can achieve.
We all have the urge to over-manage certain things but the best approach is to hire right, communicate and trust in the people you hire to do a good job.