How to Effectively Motivate Your Cleaning Staff

How to Effectively Motivate Your Cleaning Staff

In-Depth Employee Motivators for a Cleaning Service Staff

Creating a motivated cleaning staff requires understanding the principles of Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory. According to Frederick Herzberg, job satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise from two sets of factors: hygiene factors (basics) and motivators.

Hygiene Factors are the foundational elements necessary to prevent dissatisfaction, such as basic salary, working conditions, and company policies. While these factors do not inherently motivate employees, their absence can lead to poor performance and high turnover.

Motivators, on the other hand, are intrinsic elements that drive job satisfaction and motivation. These include bonuses,  achievement, recognition, meaningful work, responsibility, career advancement, and growth opportunities. For a cleaning service, focusing on these motivators can enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, and overall performance.

One of his most famous articles, “One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?” published in the Harvard Business Review in 1968, became one of the most requested reprints in the publication’s history, selling over 1.2 million reprints by 1987. His ideas on job enrichment and the importance of both hygiene factors and motivators in the workplace fundamentally changed management practices and theories about employee motivation and job satisfaction that still apply in 2024. 


In this blog, we will explore practical strategies to implement these motivators, ensuring your cleaning staff remains motivated and productive.



1. Lack of Clarity and Consistency

  • Role Ambiguity: Without clear job descriptions and standard operating procedures (SOPs), employees may not understand their responsibilities or how to perform their tasks correctly. This ambiguity can lead to inconsistent performance and errors.
  • Unclear Expectations: When employees are unsure about what is expected of them, they are less likely to meet performance standards. This can lead to frustration and disengagement.

2. Reduced Accountability

  • No Benchmark for Performance: Without performance standards and regular reviews, it is difficult to hold employees accountable for their work. This can result in lower productivity and quality of work.
  • Lack of Consequences: If there are no disciplinary policies or clear consequences for poor performance, employees may feel that they can perform poorly without repercussions.

3. Decreased Morale and Motivation

  • Perceived Unfairness: In the absence of transparent policies, decisions regarding scheduling, promotions, or compensation can seem arbitrary or biased. This perceived unfairness can lead to dissatisfaction and decreased motivation.
  • Lack of Recognition: Without formal recognition and reward systems, employees may feel that their efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated, further reducing their motivation to perform well.

4. Poor Interpersonal Relationships

  • Conflict and Tension: Without guidelines for professional behavior and conflict resolution, interpersonal issues can escalate, leading to a toxic work environment. This can distract employees from their work and reduce overall productivity.
  • Isolation and Lack of Teamwork: Clear policies can promote teamwork and collaboration. In their absence, employees may feel isolated or competitive in a negative way, hindering cooperation.

5. Safety and Legal Issues

  • Increased Risk of Accidents: Without a safety policy and proper training, employees may be unaware of how to safely handle equipment or chemicals, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Legal Consequences: Non-compliance with labor laws and safety regulations due to the absence of clear policies can result in legal issues for the company, further demoralizing the workforce.

Practical Implications

For a cleaning service, the impact of missing policies can be particularly pronounced:

  • Inconsistent Cleaning Standards: Without SOPs, the quality of cleaning can vary widely, leading to customer dissatisfaction and loss of business.
  • High Turnover Rates: Employees who feel unsupported or unappreciated are more likely to leave, leading to higher recruitment and training costs.
  • Damaged Reputation: Poor performance and high turnover can harm the company’s reputation, making it harder to attract both customers and quality employees.



A person wearing blue gloves holding a bright lightbox overhead, symbolizing motivation and achievement

List of “Hygiene” (basic) Policies & Procedures for a Cleaning Service

To meet the basics and prevent dissatisfaction among employees, a cleaning service can implement the following hygiene policies:

  1. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Training Manual:

    • Detailed instructions on cleaning techniques, equipment usage, and safety protocols.
    • Step-by-step guides for various cleaning tasks to ensure consistency and quality.
  2. Safety Policy:

    • Guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and goggles.
    • Procedures for handling hazardous materials and chemicals safely.
    • Emergency response plan for accidents or injuries.
  3. Job Descriptions:

    • Clear and detailed descriptions of each role within the cleaning service.
    • Responsibilities, expected performance standards, and required qualifications for each position.
  4. Employee Handbook:

    • Comprehensive overview of company rules and policies, including attendance, punctuality, and conduct.
    • Information on benefits, compensation, and leave policies.
    • Code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.
  5. Work Schedule and Timekeeping Policy:

    • Transparent scheduling system to ensure fair distribution of shifts.
    • Timekeeping procedures to accurately track work hours and overtime.
  6. Compensation and Benefits Policy:

    • Competitive salary structure and timely payment schedules.
    • Details on health benefits, retirement plans, and other employee perks.
  7. Work Environment Standards:

    • Ensuring a clean, safe, and well-maintained work environment.
    • Provision of necessary cleaning supplies and equipment.
  8. Interpersonal Relationship Guidelines:

    • Policies promoting respectful and professional behavior among employees.
    • Conflict resolution procedures and channels for addressing grievances.
  9. Job Security Policy:

    • Clear terms of employment and conditions under which job security is maintained.
    • Procedures for performance reviews and feedback.
  10. Training and Development Programs:

    • Regular training sessions to enhance skills and knowledge.
    • Opportunities for professional development and career advancement.



Hygiene Policies Scorecard

Hygiene Policies Scorecard for a Cleaning Service

Policy Area Criteria Score (1-5) Comments
SOP Training Manual Detailed Instructions
Step-by-Step Guides
Safety Policy PPE Guidelines
Hazardous Materials Procedures
Emergency Response Plan
Job Descriptions Role Descriptions
Employee Handbook Company Rules and Policies
Benefits Information
Code of Conduct
Work Schedule and Timekeeping Policy Scheduling System
Timekeeping Procedures
Compensation and Benefits Policy Salary Structure
Benefits Details
Work Environment Standards Safety and Cleanliness
Supply Provision
Interpersonal Relationship Guidelines Professional Behavior
Conflict Resolution
Job Security Policy Employment Terms
Performance Reviews
Training and Development Programs Regular Training
Professional Development

In-Depth Motivators for a Cleaning Service

Achievement – Bonuses

  • Set Clear, Attainable Goals: Establish specific, measurable bonuses for employees, such as completing tasks within a certain timeframe or achieving a high customer satisfaction rating.
  • Recognize and Reward Accomplishments: Implement a system to celebrate milestones and achievements, such as employee of the month awards or bonuses for exceptional performance.


  • Employee Recognition Program: Create a formal program to regularly acknowledge individual and team contributions, such as certificates, public commendations, or small rewards.
  • Regular Acknowledgment: Frequently recognize employees’ efforts during team meetings or through internal communications, reinforcing their value to the company.

The Work Itself

  • Meaningful Tasks: Ensure that cleaning tasks are perceived as important to the company’s mission, such as maintaining a clean environment that supports health and safety.
  • Variety in Tasks: Rotate responsibilities and introduce diverse tasks to keep work engaging and prevent monotony.


  • Empower Autonomy: Allow employees to make decisions about how they complete their tasks, giving them a sense of ownership and control.
  • Encourage Ownership: Assign specific projects or areas for which employees are responsible, fostering a sense of accountability and pride in their work.


  • Career Progression Paths: Clearly outline potential career paths within the company, showing employees how they can advance from entry-level positions to higher roles.
  • Promotion Opportunities: Provide regular opportunities for promotions and lateral moves, ensuring employees see a future within the company.

Growth Opportunities

  • Training and Professional Development: Offer ongoing training sessions to help employees improve their skills and stay updated with industry standards.
  • Support for New Skills: Encourage employees to acquire new certifications or attend workshops, providing financial or logistical support as needed.

By focusing on these motivators, a cleaning service can significantly enhance employee satisfaction, performance, and retention.



Motivators Scorecard

In-Depth Motivators Scorecard for a Cleaning Service

Motivator Area Criteria Score (1-5) Comments
Achievement Set Clear, Attainable Goals
Recognize and Reward Accomplishments
Recognition Employee Recognition Program
Regular Acknowledgment
The Work Itself Meaningful Tasks
Variety in Tasks
Responsibility Empower Autonomy
Encourage Ownership
Advancement Career Progression Paths
Promotion Opportunities
Growth Opportunities Training and Professional Development
Support for New Skills


Implementing clear, comprehensive policies is essential for creating a structured and supportive work environment. These policies help ensure that employees understand their roles, are held accountable, and feel valued and respected.

This, in turn, leads to better work performance, higher employee morale, and a more successful business overall.