Toxic Employees as House Cleaners?

Toxic Employees Edition

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How Do You Deal With Toxic Employees?  (Your Answers)

  1. toxic employees girl with attitudeToxic employees will bring down your whole company. Hire for attitude, train for skill.
  2. Screen for toxic employees. It’s better to find out before you hire them. Dealing with problematic customers is tough enough, you don’t want to also have to deal with difficult employees.
  3. Talk to them in private. Tell them what you expect and hold them accountable. If they need professional help, help them get it. 
  4. Train your employees in the behaviors you expect. Make it part of the job.

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Do You Have Toxic Employees? Here Are The Signs

Big difference between leading and bullying, Angela Brown Oberer ©Savvy Cleaner

  1. They intimidate and belittle other people. This is you, your clients and your other employees
  2. They find creative ways to avoid work.
  3. The work they do is sloppy and they often have a careless attitude about their work performance.
  4. They gossip about family, friends, coworkers, clients, you etc.
  5. Entitlement is a big issue. They feel like everybody owes them something they haven’t earned.
  6. Criticism and judgment are common elements to look for. Nothing is ever good enough for toxic employees.
  7. Micromanagement of the way you run your company or the way other employees work. Unless they are the manager and were assigned this task, it gets on everybody’s nerves.
  8. They are constantly late for work – and usually, have huge dramatic reasons why.

More Signs: Problem Creators or Problem Solvers?

Toxic employees solutions or problems ©Savvy Cleaner9. They complain about their health issues. (Health issues in house cleaning are a big deal because your job depends on your health.) I’m talking here about random weird issues that don’t pertain to the job and can’t be validated with doctors notes. Hypochondriacs that are sick over everything. If it’s valid, it needs to be dealt with, but if its sickness just for the sake of being obnoxious, it’s toxic.

10. Lies. Be careful of lies. Little lies lead to bigger lies. They might start out knocking down another employee to boost themselves, and their untruths often end in embezzlement, theft, and extortion. Watch for a pattern of lies – it’s very toxic.

11. They’re victims of anything and everything. They believe everybody is out to get them. And tolerating this behavior is exhausting and will suck your energy dry.

12. The glass is always half empty rather than half full. When given the opportunity, they choose the negative side of everything. Also exhausting.

13. They don’t know how to budget their money and are always hounding you for an advance.

14. Disorganization is their norm. They show up unprepared to jobs missing equipment and supplies or their equipment is broken and the forgot to report it.

15. They get mad easily and fight with coworkers and clients. 
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Ask a House Cleaner – Don’t Hire Toxic Employees

I run a business not a battlefield, Angela Brown Oberer ©Savvy Cleaner

“I run a business not a battlefield.” This is a talk I give all my new hires. “We don’t tolerate fights, strategizing against others or surprise attacks. If you can show up to work on time, be part of the team, do your job and play nice, you have a job. But we don’t tolerate gossip, sniveling, narcissism, nit-picking, sarcasm and bullying.

We clean houses. That’s what we do. We serve our customers and we deal with their challenges. We do not create our own internal challenges. That is counterproductive.

Our business is a safe, healthy and happy place to work. This means emotionally, physically, and professionally. We all leave our personal troubles at home when we come to work. And we all have personal troubles.

We do not worship one employee over another here – we are all equal here. Nobody gets preferential treatment. 

If you don’t get along with somebody, you need to come to me and tell me why and give me a solution to fix the problem. It ends there. You don’t share that information with any other members of the team. Any problems with other teammates need to be brought to my immediate attention and no one else. 

At this job, you get paid for your work. problem and solution buttons

Your bonuses are based on your attitude and team spirit. What I’m looking for are smiles, high fives, fist bumps, and cheering other teammates. We are all better together than we are alone. Think of the people that work here as your best friends, not your enemies.

I have a zero tolerance policy for toxic employees. And if I have to let somebody go – I will do it to protect the team. I won’t make a big deal of it, and I won’t explain it to the group. If you ask me, I’ll just say “Train Station” that means they got off at the last train station and the train moved on without them.

Do you understand my rules? Do you have any questions about this policy? Is there any reason you can’t follow this policy?

Great, Sign here that you understand the policy and that you agree to follow the rules. 

I’m going to make a copy of this agreement for your employee file. Would you like a copy to take home with you?”

Bam! Now everybody knows the rules. 

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Social Media – Toxic Employees Leave Clues 

Social media is a gift for employers. A quick glance through a potential hire’s Facebook feeds you can give you a good idea of the type of person you are about to hire. Red Flags

Do they have positive quotes? Do they have family pictures? Are they supportive of others? Do they have an upbeat personality? Do they have a healthy sense of humor?

Or, are all the pictures selfies? Are they negative or do they bash other people verbally? Do they complain about senseless stuff? Do they have a victim mentality? Did the world do them wrong and they’re out to get even?

Before you hire toxic employees – ask for their social media connections. Look at them all. (Note: Your clients who allow these house cleaners to come clean their homes will be surfing their social media pages too. The information on a potential new hire’s facebook or twitter feed is a reflection of you and your company. No, you can’t control potential employee posts, but you can control who you hire.)

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Time-Saving Hack of the Week – Choose Joy

Choose Joy - couple high fiving Attitude is contagious. That goes for a positive or negative attitude. So which are you promoting? If you are a great leader, you will transfer whatever mood you are to your team. 

It’s usually an unconscious thing. Your employees pick up the vibe you’re sending and they pass it along to your customers, coworkers and ultimately their family. Then they bring it back to work – and you have to deal with their attitude, compounded with your own. So are you sending a vibe of positivity or negativity? Hint: An attitude that fosters negativity, sickness, problems, and complaints – attracts more of the same. Repairing those problems after the fact is a huge time waster. Prevention saves you time.

When you are sick with a cold or the flu – you feel bad. And you know you are contagious. And you call in sick or keep your distance from people because you don’t want them to catch what you have.

But unless you are aware – you will not recognize a bad attitude as feeling bad.

Yet you’re still contagious. 

Here’s a huge time-saving hack for your business. Every day before you show up for work – reset your attitude. Decide to leave personal problems at home. Leave health problems at home. Isolate problems at work from the rest of the team. This means to confide in a therapist or a mastermind group. Don’t dump your general business problems on your employees. Unless your employee is directly involved in a particular problem, it’s your problem, not theirs.

Tell yourself “Today is Better” and then make today better than yesterday. That is contagious. If you radiate positivity, health, happiness, encouragement and support – guess what you are going to get in return? You guessed it. 

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 What’s going on with Angela? Vacation Planning

I take three weeks vacation a year. One in January, one in July and one in September. Attitude Reset ©Savvy CleanerThe one in January is a business conference I attend every year with some of the highest level masterminds in the country. We spend a week networking, troubleshooting and spinning ideas. The purpose is to challenge ourselves to excel. This vacation is in two weeks at a five-star resort in Miami. I’m super excited about attending this year.

The second-week vacation in July is with my immediate family. Mom, Dad and all my 19 brothers and sisters and their spouses and all their kids. We usually meet in the mountains of Oregon and camp out in tents under the stars. We sit around the campfire at night singing with guitars. The days we spend tubing down the river or playing frisbee games. The purpose of this trip is to reconnect, to catch up and to take a break from daily life. 

The third vacation is a private trip out of the country with my husband. We go to exotic locations like Lake Como, Paris, Munich, London, and Venice. Then we find quaint little hotels or bed and breakfasts off the beaten path. We both love photography and so we go armed with 10 cameras between the two of us. The purpose of this trip is to chill, to reconnect with each other and to have the time of our lives.

When Is Your Vacation?

It’s easy as a small business owner to get caught up in the daily grind. We wear many hats and we take care of everybody else first. Sometimes we pay ourselves last or not at all. And we rarely take vacations. Let’s change that this year. You are in business for the obvious reasons like making money and providing for your family. But with that comes the freedom to be in charge. So be in charge. This year pay yourself. Schedule and take your vacations. Recharge your batteries and hit the reset button. When you return you will be a better boss. This is your business and your life. Make it count starting today.

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Employee Retention for Cleaning Companies

Employee retention tips for your house cleaning business

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Employee Retention? – Your Answers

  1. Pair up new house cleaners with senior cleaners in a mentorship program. Reward the mentors who train the new employees with extra pay. Applebees-gift-card
  2. Have a rewards system that promotes employee retention and includes time off or extra paid vacation days. Dinner for two at a local restaurant. A photo of the employee on your wall of fame on your website etc.
  3. Include bonuses for attendance loyalty. Carwashes, gym membership, gift cards to restaurants, Itunes cards for music and apps. 
  4. Give loyal employees a sense of ownership and leadership. Put them in charge of a territory and a team. 

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Ask a House Cleaner – Employee Retention through DailyPay

Reliable help is hard to find. And in the cleaning business absenteeism is one of the biggest challenges we face. The excuses are legitimate. “My kid got sick and I have to stay at home with them.” “I have PMS and cramps.” “My car won’t start.” “I hate the customer.” and 73 other unique but regular reasons house cleaners can’t show up today.

And replacing employees is easier said than done.


There is the advertising process, recruiting process, screening process, the vetting process, and training process. And that’s before a cleaner shows up for work day one. Replacing employees is a revolving door that you don’t profit from.

So how do we motivate our house cleaning employees to show up for work? 

Jason Lee, the founder and CEO of DailyPay claims “I’ve figured out how to reduce absenteeism and turnover.” When I interviewed him about his solutions, he showed me the inner workings of DailyPay. A technology company that provides house cleaners access to their unpaid earnings. It’s brilliant.

Most cleaning companies pay their employees weekly or bi-weekly. It makes sense from an accounting standpoint to cut payroll checks on a schedule. 

But receiving money on a daily basis is the key to survival for some. It’s such a big issue that many house cleaners jump ship and start their own cleaning companies – taking our clients with them.

DailyPay is unique in the sense that it doesn’t cost the employer any extra money, and no change to your current payroll process.

House cleaners can use their smartphones to transfer today’s earnings to their bank account. It’s just like using an ATM machine and they pay a .99cent surcharge per transaction to move the money. That’s it. If they move money 5 days a week they pay $4.95 

DailyPay means your employees living paycheck to paycheck get to keep their cell phones activated, their power on, gas in the car, and food on the table. And this gives them a spectacular reason to show up for work today. Work today – get paid today. 

Check it out at tell them Angela Brown sent you. 🙂

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Employee Retention via Social Media

Employee Retention through leadership, Savvy CleanerGet your employees to share company stories on their social media channels. J.T. O’Donnell Founder & CEO of WorkItDaily says the advantages are:

Involving disengaged workers. People want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Those that refuse to share photos and stories can be telling. They may not be comfortable with their jobs enough to share with family and friends, or they may be unhappy. This is a chance for you to embrace problems and improve employee satisfaction.

Identify brand ambassadors. Those that excel at promoting the company are fans of their jobs. Recognize these folks for promoting your company. 

Reward employees with referrals that come from their social media channels. “The monetary incentive will make it worth the few minutes they invest in promoting you.”

Notes for House Cleaners:

  • Before posting (before and after) pictures of clients homes, get the client’s permission. 
  • Make sure not to include any personal family photos that would identify the client. 
  • Don’t use client’s names or addresses or neighborhoods in the posts.
  • Turn off Geolocating on smartphones before you take pictures.
  • Post affirmative and positive messages, rather than negative ones.
  • Create a business hashtag that all employees will use in social media posts to link the posts back to your company.

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Time Saving Hack of the Week = Eliminate Turnover Through Profit Sharing

Frequent turnover has a negative impact on employee morale, productivity, and company revenue. Employee Retention - Girl on phone bragging about profit sharing, Savvy Cleaner

In the cleaning business, it can take six to eight months to get a new house cleaner trained and up to speed. But when a top performer leaves they often take lots of clients with them. So you lose a whole lot more than just a good employee. You lose clients and the revenue they provide.

A time-saving hack from employee turnover, that will improve your bottom line is to share the wealth. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the IRS suggest a profit sharing plan for small business. 

A profit-sharing plan allows you as an employer to contribute to a fund for an employee. The money contributed may grow through investments in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. You can also set it up to include money market funds, savings accounts, and other investment vehicles. For a profit sharing checklist, rules, and tax exemptions click here.

House cleaners often leave because the cleaning companies they work for don’t offer anything special. There are usually few if any benefits offered beyond a paycheck. Be different. Be the company that takes care of your employees. Make them feel valued. Give them an incentive to show up day after day. Year after year.

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 What’s going on with Angela?

Tax LawIt’s accounting time at Savvy Cleaner. Like most of you, we are brushing up on our year-end statements for tax law compliance. 

Most of the stuff I get to do at Savvy Cleaner make my heart sing. I love my clients. I enjoy creating content. Consulting and watching those I help grow their businesses is a thrill. And it’s exciting to hang out with my house cleaning peeps. All that cool stuff. Yay!

Not so cool are the administrative formalities of running a small business and meeting the tax codes. I spent an entire afternoon at the county courthouse the other day in a property tax seminar. It made my head hurt. And the lady who ran the session LOVES tax law. She is passionate about her job.  And when the session was over Sheila convinced me that I don’t need to love tax law. I just need to understand and follow the rules. Following the rules to a T – will keep me and my business out of trouble. This keeps me from hefty fines and jail time. Which then allows me to focus on the cool stuff in my business that I’m passionate about.

Another great lesson learned about small business. Thanks, Sheila. 


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