When it comes to proper Green Cleaning training, many facility managers decide to transfer from conventional to Green cleaning and think that’s the end of it. Well, selecting environmentally preferable cleaning products is one thing, but using them properly is something else entirely.
Some facilities decide to become Greener and more sustainable by switching their lighting from conventional to low wattage light fixtures. Or, instead of selecting conventional paper products, they select Green alternatives. Well, not much training is required on how to turn on a light switch, nor is it too complicated to learn about filling a paper towel holder with recycled paper products—the processes are all the same.
However, this is not true with cleaning and the problem becomes all the more challenging if poor cleaning habits, or at least old and outdated cleaning methods, are still in use. Furthermore, using Green products can be much different than using conventional products. Some re-education is necessary on not only how to use the new Green Cleaning products, but also on spiffing up cleaning methods so that they are the most effective and efficient available.
But selecting a Green Cleaning trainer can be difficult. I have been involved with the professional cleaning industry all my life so I am very familiar with all three key segments of our industry: manufacturers, distributors, and the end-users, who are typically building service contractors. Very often, the job of training BSCs and cleaning workers on how to use Green cleaning products, along with up-to-date cleaning methods, is shouldered by distributors…the ones who sell the products to the end user.
Some of these distributors are exceptional. They are excellent trainers and well versed on Green Cleaning and effective cleaning methods. Further, and what always amazes me, is how they leave their 9-to-5 jobs and frequently adjust their schedules to meet with cleaning professionals when they work, which can be anywhere from 6 at night to 2 in the morning. My appreciation goes out to these ladies and gentlemen.
However, there are also distributors who may know a lot about only one or two Green cleaning products. And, many others may know little more than end users on how to use Green cleaning products. As far as educating, some may be excellent salespeople, but teaching is just not for them.
In all fairness, the job of a distributor is to sell cleaning products and not necessarily to work all hours of the night teaching people how to use the products. Further, the training a distributor offers may actually be prepared by a company’s marketing department and not based on “real life” cleaning methods, in “real life” situations, using the new Green products.
However, there are steps building managers and BSCs can take to help ensure they are receiving effective training. For instance:
- Ask if the distributor (or trainer) will take the time to walk-thru your facility and evaluate how cleaning is currently being performed, what products and equipment are currently in use, if they are being used properly, and what Green products will be brought into the facility. This helps focus the training.
- Evaluate the cleaning materials the trainer will use. Are they professionally prepared? Are they in the appropriate language? Do the images demonstrate how to use the product? Images can be referred to later and provide a quick yet powerful way of demonstrating proper cleaning techniques and use of products and equipment.
- Has the trainer trained others before? If so, how much training experience does the trainer have and has he/she worked with cleaning professionals who maintain facilities similar to yours?
- Does the trainer like teaching? It’s actually a fair question to ask. Invariably, people that love what they do are better at it.
- Is there a test after the training program? Tests not only evaluate how much someone has learned from a training program, but they also actually help people learn and are considered one of the best training techniques available.