Culture Turnaround in Your Cleaning Business with Martha Woodward

Culture Turnaround in Your Cleaning Business with Martha Woodward

What is culture turnaround and what does it
have to do with your house cleaning business? We’re going to talk about that today. Hi there.
I’m Angela Brown and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. Now,
today’s show is brought to us by and if you have a question you can go over
there and in the bottom corner of the right hand corner of your screen is a blue button.
When you click on that blue button, a microphone appears and you can just start talking like
you’re sending me a voicemail message and it comes right here to the show and I can
help answer your questions. Now here’s the good news. If I don’t have
the answer, I know somebody who does and I’m bringing one of those experts on the show
to join us today. This is Martha Woodward and she’s coming back by popular demand. Shei s the creator of the Quality Driven Software that does a whole bunch of surveys and ratings
and reviews for your employees and your independent contractors to find out how well your customers
are interacting and liking the work that they do. She’s also known as the pay for performance
expert where she has an entire training program on culture turnaround and she’s here to share
with us today about what that is and how to help those employees when they’ve kind of
slacked off on their duties and they’re getting a little bit sloppy in their work. I know
something we all need to know about, so please help me welcome Martha Woodward. Martha Woodward: I am Martha Woodward and I own a cleaning business and like many of
you, I have gone through the pit of despair. Maybe you’re still there, hopefully you’re
not. But because of that feeling out of control and feeling a hostage to my employees and
just feeling taken advantage of, I out of necessity came up with some systems that helped
me run my business to where I don’t really even have to be the bad guy. The numbers are
the bad guy and it just shifts the responsibility off of me and management to the employees
to where everything just runs, I don’t want to say as it should and perfectly because
things happen, but overall I no longer feel out of control and we have systems in place
to where now I can love my business and love my employees.
Angela Brown: I’m so Excited that you said that because I think a lot of cleaning business
owners want to love their business. And a minute ago you said the numbers are the bad
guy, not you. Sometimes the employees are actually the bad guy because they pull some
shenanigans that make them difficult to work with. So does your program address the employees
that are not maybe really bad guys, but maybe they’re just kind of like they’ve turned mediocre
on us? Martha Woodward: So I have a 12 week culture
turnaround course. There are some employees that we bring on even though we’ve interviewed
them and screened them and everything they still aren’t the right fit. And so some of
them need to exit and there are ways that you’ll know who needs to exit. Some of them,
like you say, just start slipping. They’re not a bad person by any means. But maybe because
of our system we’ve allowed them to start slipping. And the funny thing is we start
feeling resentful towards them, but honestly we just never showed them where those lines
are. If the lines aren’t clear of what you expect and what’s like above and beyond, then
they don’t really know where to fit in. And I think that’s why some people start slipping
well. Angela Brown: And that’s a really good point
because I know that there are companies that don’t have clear boundaries and there are
clear boundaries that go into other areas that even are not even related to cleaning,
but they have everything to do with the culture like you said, like for example, gossiping.
And when you gossip about clients or you gossip about other employees, that creates a toxic
environment where maybe you have a really great cleaning employee that just excels at
cleaning, but they have this really weird toxic attitude that starts bringing down the
other employees. Does your program address stuff like that?
Martha Woodward: It does. We talk about attitude and behavior issues. And what I find is that,
especially when you’ve gone from being the sole cleaner and then your business just grew
into this bigger and bigger thing, now you don’t really know how to address those problems.
And what I find is most of us are most comfortable in just ignoring the problem. What will happen
is if there’s gossiping going on or those types of things and you ignore it, then the
problem just gets bigger and bigger and you will find your best people start leaving because
you’re not taking care of the problem. So, we talk in the course a lot about how
to get comfortable with these conversations because that’s all it is. If you address it
early and often, then it isn’t this big bad thing it’s just, “Hey, I noticed this,” it’s
just a simple conversation. You just have to get comfortable with it and like everything
else, you don’t get comfortable with it until you just do it and you do it often and frequently
whenever you need to. Angela Brown: So having that conversation
is one of the most difficult things that, I’m going to say not just house cleaners but
anybody will do because nobody likes the confrontation and nobody likes to, okay, call you into the
principal’s office and sit down and have that chat. But let’s suppose that you have to,
and let’s suppose that you didn’t catch it early on and now it’s kind of like this big
overwhelming thing and you don’t want to fire the person, but you want to come right out
and you have to have that conversation. How transparent do you be with them? Do you just
lay it all on the table or do you try to be diplomatic and not hurt their feelings?
Martha Woodward: I’m very transparent and I do feel a lot of responsibility that I never
ever fire somebody and they didn’t know it was coming. I just don’t think that’s fair
at all. And I don’t even feel like it’s fair of me to have these kind of bad thoughts about
an employee and they don’t know. And so many of us think, well they should know. Well,
I mean, no they shouldn’t. We didn’t all get raised in the same kind of families and there
are a lot of emotional issues and baggage that come with many of our employees. And
so they may be afraid of these conversations as well because maybe in the past things have
not gone well at all. I mean, who knows what happened when serious conversations like this
happened. But when I sit down with an employee and even if I’ve waited too long, yes, I’m
going to definitely lay it on the table. Now, if I’ve waited too long, I feel like
I can’t just fire them because that was my fault. So I might have to backtrack and say
we’re starting from here, but I lay it out on a table on here’s what I’ve observed and
what I’ve seen happen, the behavior that I expect to improve and make that as measurable
as possible. And then talk about what timeframe that you’re going to be watching because they’re
basically on a probationary period. And then if that behavior happens again within this
time period, what’s the next consequence? All of those things should be laid out and
be very transparent. So if it happens again, you pull the out the past sheet up and now
you have a new sheet that you’re writing out. Angela Brown: It’s a pink slip.
Martha Woodward: It is. And I always present it to them as in if we don’t have to go over
this again, it’s pretty much forgotten and that this is not always going to hang over
your head. I consider this to be just educating you on what we need and maybe I just haven’t
done a great job of letting you know that. But now you know, so we’re going to move forward
from here. Angela Brown: Well, I love your culture turnaround
program. It Sounds really exciting and I can hear there’s value that just about any house
cleaner or cleaning company could benefit from. Is it strictly for house cleaners or
is it also for professional organizers or other types of companies?
Martha Woodward: Originally when I started it, it really was pretty much made service
owners and managers. But now I have people in the class that are from lawn care, window
cleaning. I have VA service that is using it to turn their culture around. I have accounting
firm. It’s basically anybody that has employees because we talk about very generic cross the
board problems as far as recruiting, policies, training, all of those things. Now when you
get examples, I will tell you that most of the examples come from the maid service world,
but there’re examples that can be tweaked to any business.
Angela Brown: Well I can certainly see why they call you the pay for performance expert.
Tell our listeners a little bit about where they can go to find you and your training
program. Martha Woodward: So the website is long. It’s I have homework and I’m going to make you delve into what
is the problem and we do discuss it. We have Q&A at the end. We have a private Facebook
group that only the people in the 12 week culture course are in. So yes, I will make
you do a lot of the work on your own, but I am here to help you do some logic and problem
solving and find out what your issues are. Angela Brown: Alrighty. And that was Martha
Woodward, the pay for performance expert, and now you know why. I know, awesome stuff
here. I’m going to leave links in the show notes to all this stuff that she talked about,
the pay for performance culture turnaround program, and also her quality-driven software,
which is just flying off the shelves. People are super excited about it because they’re
able to monitor the progress of their employees and independent contractors. So super exciting
stuff. If you found this helpful, please pass it onto a friend. If we’ve earned your subscription,
please subscribe and until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when
you found it.

2 thoughts on “Culture Turnaround in Your Cleaning Business with Martha Woodward

  1. Martha seems to be someone who would be excellent to work for.
    She appears very thoughtful and has good character. I like her 👍👍
    ….my thoughts

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