By Jim Flieler

Today more than ever, it is essential to provide your end users with a well-thought-out training program. Because the cost of floor care accounts for approximately 67 percent of your cleaning program, and 90 percent of that cost is on labour, your floor care training program is one of the most important assets of your entire cleaning program. Wood floor care continues to be an essential element of facility maintenance programs, especially at educational institutions. But wood floor care is also a delicate process that requires finesse, hands-on experience and deep expertise.

As our industry continues to evolve through new innovations and a loss of deep expertise in both distributors and end users, we’re going to have to work even harder to develop training programs that provide our teams with the tools they need to care for wood floor care. Below are a few training tips to help boost your wood floor care training program.

Surround yourself with deep product specialists. Look at your staff, your distributors and even the manufacturers of the product and equipment you use in your floor care program to identify an individual who has extensive experience with wood floor care. That will be the person you will want leading and involved in your training program. You do not want to have someone who can read the literature and paraphrase it. You need a seasoned veteran who is very specifically knowledgeable with the process of caring for wood floors. I will warn you that process expertise is not as prevalent in the industry as it once was. You may have to look further to find a specialist, but that extra work finding the right person will pay off in the long run.

Get the right people involved. When you are looking at your training program, it’s important to include the right people from your staff. You’ll want to identify those who can buy in to the program, carry it forth and eventually train other people within the facility. If you have a school district with 50 school gymnasiums and you only train a couple of people on your team, you should make sure they have the responsibility to carry that forward and train from there. It’s wise to include more people in the training process than only a select few, even if that means needing to take a day or a few to change work plans. With turnover, absenteeism and the changing needs and schedules of our facilities, having more people who’ve had training will prevent last-minute staffing crises and damage to your wood floors in the future.

Communicate with your facility.This may sound basic, but it’s very important. Communicate with your facility to plan not only for wood floor care, but also for your hands-on wood floor care training sessions. Every wood floor care training program should include a hands-on component, and you’ll need access to a wood floor to do that properly. I’ve seen a lack of facility communication stall or cancel training programs many times over my years in the business. You’ll want to make sure your training session doesn’t conflict with the events on the calendar for the space. Choose products that allow the timing to work well with events, too.

Make sure all supplies and tools in good condition and ready to go. A wood floor  care program will rely on the working condition of your tools and equipment. Even before you training, you’ll want to plan ahead of time to make sure everything is in working order. That means making sure your autoscrubbers’ batteries are charged, your electric equipment is working, that you have the appropriate PPE and your prevention signage is ready.

Make a plan. Once you’ve gathered your specialists, your team of engaged learners and your equipment and tools, it’s time to make a plan for after training. Assign wood floor care responsibilities for each individual. I always recommend three people to be assigned to the task. Identify who will be responsible for what, and make those assignments very clear. Knowing roles before training will help your staff members feel more engaged and look for specific tools and answers they need.

How do I know all this? I’ve seen training programs that have failed, and training programs that have been great successes. These tips are key elements of the programs that have been successful.