Thursday, November 14, 2013


Ever wonder who you really have working with you in your company? A few years ago I heard Richard Flint give the keynote presentation at a BSCAI convention and he advocated that most companies have basically 3 types of employees working for them. They are


This group makes up about 30% of your workforce. These are usually the newer employees that are trying to learn everything they can about the job, the company, and how they can do a better job. They listen intently as their training takes place, they go to the job full of excitement and enthusiasm ready to put their best foot forward. They absorb everything they can, good and bad, and can be swayed either way as they work. Have any of these at your company?


This group makes up about 65% of the workforce. They do a lot of standing and watching other people work. These are the ones that will tell you everything wrong about the company. They are the ones that will encourage the sponges not to work so hard. After all, if you get done too quick, they'll cut our time. They will also work hard at finding short cuts to doing the work. After all, isn't just enough, good enough? They also know enough to "look busy" whenever the boss is around. They do their best to teach the sponges the way to become good spectators.Last week our topic of discussion was what 5 minutes of lost time costs your company in dollars and cents. This group wears the wasted time chart as a badge of honor.  Check their lunch bucket, it might have a set of binoculars to watch others work. Have any of these at your company?


This group represents about 5% of the workforce. These are the ones that really get the work done and done right. These are also the ones you call on when you are really in a bind. You have that emergency job, or you have to save an account that has threatened to cancel so you gather up your camels and GET THE JOB DONE. One major job of the camel is to keep the sponges away from the spectators. Have any of these at your company? Hopefully you have more than 5%.

Interesting analogy, isn't it? What can be really scary is if it is true in your company. Have you ever thought of it in this way? Think about it, don't you usually have a small group of key workers you call on when the going gets really rough and you really have to get something tough accomplished? I know I did. 

Let me suggest you spend some time analyzing your company and see if your percentages resemble those shown above. If so, what is your plan of action with the spectators? How will you keep the sponges away from the spectators and more aligned with the camels?

Enough said this week on that subject. Next week I will be spending the entire time in Las Vegas at the ISSA trade show and the BSCAI convention. I hope you have listened to our daily tripodcasts and got an insight as to which sessions you plan to attend. Lots of good ones this year.

Don't forget to visit us on Thursday and Friday at the Bellagio where we will have a table display in the solutions pavillion. We have several new products and discounted package pricing this year. Also, I speak on Thursday afternoon on the subject of Hiring and Keeping Great Hourly Employees. We'll have some handouts there that will be available only to those who attend the session. 

We have many people who contact me about these blog topics and through our "ask Dick Ollek" question section. I hope you will take the time to introduce yourself to me so I can put a face with a name. That is one of the really great benefits of the annual convention--meeting new people and establishing long time friendships. 

See you next week. Till next time.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


As we near the end of the calendar year many BSC's are reviewing their accounts to see if it will be necessary to ask their customers for an increase next year. Some agreements have automatic increases built in but for the rest of us it's time to look at each account. 

If you are one of those who will be asking for an increase you also know that your customer will probably be a "hard sell". I really can't remember very many increase requests that we made that were easy. Each one was worrisome. It seems, when we ask for an increase, that the customer is able to relate each time he or she saw the crew sitting down. Ever had a customer say that to you? I know I did. 

Then there was the time I caught my own crew sitting down on the job. Let me quickly relate that story.

We had the contract to clean a 7 story building that took 16 hours per night and we staffed it with 4-4 hour cleaners from 6-10 PM. As time went on we started to get little ankle biter complaints like paper on the stairwell in the fire exit, trash missed in a suite here and there, a restroom dispenser that emptied before the end of the day etc. You get the picture. 

My crews response was that if they just had 1 additional hour, 15 minutes each they could assure me the problems would be resolved. Well, after much discussion I relented and asked my client if I could visit with her about the subject of additional money. Finally, one afternoon she said she could see me at 5 PM so I rushed to her office, sweat blood, and eventually convinced her to accept the price increase that would "eliminate" her problems (right?). 

As I was leaving the building I decided to take the elevator to the basement where there was a vending area/break area for the building tenants. It is now 6:20 and I am tired and thirsty and ready to sit down and relax for a while. As I entered the break area, low and behold, who do I see but my entire crew sitting, visiting and having a soft drink of their own. I explained as calmly as I could that I had just spent over an hour convincing our mutual customer to accept a price increase so they could each have 15 minutes additional each day to eliminate the problems that had been existing and here it was 20 mintues after the time they were to have started and they were yet to move a cleaning cart. 

There explanation to me?---THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE EVER DONE THIS. I believe them, don't you? Right. I had a few additional intelligent remarks for them and left the building. Within a few days they became "former employees". Had they been trained properly? Yes, over and over. 

Now why am I relaying this story to you? Because it prompted me to develop a chart entitled "It's Only 5 Minutes".  What it tells us is what 5 minutes a day wasted costs a company in dollars based on the number of employees and pay scales. Let me give you some examples,

5 employees paid $10 per hour wasting 5 mintues per day equates to $1,260 per year.

100 employees paid $10 per hour wasting 5 minutes per day equates to $25,200 per year. 

Get the picture? We made it a policy to review the chart with our staff several times a year, not to brow beat them but to  just make them aware of what wasted time costs them in a years time. It was a really important reminder to them as we neared year end and needed to review pricing information on each account. I, of course, would remind them of the story I told above to help drive the point home. 

Now, so you don't have to try and create a chart like this, we have a FREE chart available to anyone wanting one. Just go to our web site, click on the DVD icon, and on the left hand side of that page you will see the chart title and you can download it for free. Maybe it will be helpful to you as well.

Along the same subject line, I have read various reports through the years that say that a 4 hour worker gives us about 2 and a half hours of productive time and an 8 hour worker produces about 5 and a half hours of productivity. I can't prove or disprove that theory but if it is anywhere close to accurate, it is an astounding statistic. For now though, let's concentrate on 5 mintues per day and see if we can make everyone in our organization aware of that and the impact it has on our bottom line.

As I post this we are less than two weeks away from the ISSA/BSCAI convention and trade show in Las Vegas. I certainly hope you are planning to attend and take advantage of this learning opportunity. I assure you you won't have time to waste 5 minutes if you take advantage of all that is available. 

By the way, on Wednesday the 20th, I'll be hosting a roundtable discussion at the convention center on one of my favorite subjects--Employee Training. We'll be doing it in 2-45 minute segments and will have handouts for those in attendance. We'll also be speaking at the Bellagio on Thursday at 3 PM on the subject of Finding and Keeping Great Hourly Employees. We will have 3 handouts there that are available only to those attending the session. Hope to see a bunch of people at both events. 

Till next time and MAKE IT A GREAT DAY.