We all have bad days. It’s just a simple fact of life. The kids didn’t want to get up. The dog did his business on the bathroom rug. Aunt Marge is visiting for the holidays. Whatever the case may be, there are going to be days when you’re just not feeling your best. The same goes for your co-workers. However, there’s a big difference between having a bad day and a bad attitude. Attitude isn’t about how you’re feeling because of what happened to you before you came to work or ongoing struggles in your life, which isn’t always directly in your control. Attitude is about how you react to these feelings and struggles. That’s why trying to hire people who have a good attitude is so critical.
That way, when the bad days come—either at home or at work—you'll have a staff that's better prepared to tackle their job. In the cleaning profession, this becomes incredibly important, because the results of a bad attitude can be so immediate. If a janitor isn't feeling motivated, resents their job, or is otherwise distracted, then the cleaning suffers.
There are three problems with bad attitudes:
- Decreased Performance – Bad attitudes spread. Even just one cleaning staff member with a bad attitude can affect the others. Maybe their co-workers will start seeing their negative point of view. Or, they'll be annoyed by their co-worker, which will put them in a bad frame of mind. They might also wonder why their co-worker's sub-par work and bad attitude is allowed to continue without being corrected. This might lead them to question why they're working so hard if that sort of work is allowed. If the bad attitude is coming from the managerial level, then it can be even more dangerous as it trickles down through the organization.
- Increased Health & Safety Risk – If cleaning standards fall because of bad attitudes, this can put both the cleaning staff and facility occupants at risk. Improper use of cleaning products can mean poor sanitizing or disinfecting, which can lead to an increase in sickness getting spread. It can also cause residue build-up that leads to slippery floors.
- Unhappy Customers – Of course, this is one of the most worrying things for cleaning staff. Whether you're an in-house staff or a BSC, you're there to make your customers (the occupants of the facilities you clean) happy. If the work suffers, the customers are not going to be satisfied, which could have negative consequences for your entire staff.1
You can tackle bad attitudes in a couple of ways. When you identify staff who have bad attitudes, take corrective action swiftly. Be understanding of personal issues, but remember that's not really an excuse for an ongoing lousy attitude. Don’t let a bad attitude spread. Get feedback from your staff, and see if it’s an individual issue, an organizational one, or a combination of the two. See what you can correct, and what issues are just realities of the business.
The other important step you can take is to make attitude more of a priority when hiring. Although experience is important and critical, you may find it easier to train someone with a good attitude rather than trying to get an experienced person to have a good attitude.
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