Housekeeping Training

A survey about the best training methods for the housekeeping department was done and members of the Linkedin forum were asked the question “Which training method is the most effective for the Housekeeping Department?”. Survey participants could choose from five different answers: “on the job training”, “job swaps”, “shadowing”, “classroom training”, or “regular communication meetings. 223 differnt housekeeping professional answered the question and identified “on the job” training as the most effective training method for the housekeeping department (182 votes, 83%).

Many housekeeping professionals also used the comment box below the survey to explain their views. It became clear that it is not necessarily only one single method that is most effective. A combination of the mentioned methods seems to be used widely. See below for more details.

What did actually say?

All the coments below are copy&paste from the discussion on

Abdul Manann on the job training most effective for all the department not only house keeping

Kathleen Zwicker All these should be used in tandem. For new hires, I use classroom training for 2 days, shadowing in conjunction with OJT after that. In the classroom – that’s where they learn the correct way – not how “everyone else” is doing it!

Mary Makuski I use shadowing with on the job training for the first few days. The classroom training comes later when they are more familiar with what I am trying to talk about. I only allow the new hire to shadow someone that I trust is doing the job the correct way.

Mary Makuski I like to have new hires shadow the first day. Of course, I have them shadow someone that I know will be doing tasks the correct way. After the first day, I use on the job training to help them build their own routine. The classroom stuff comes later when the new hire knows a little more about what I am talking about.

Mandar Arvind @Mary: Completely agree. It also helps the fresher to loosen up a bit, Since first couple of days a very crucial & informative for him. 

Mary Makuski Shadowing gives the new hire insight into the expectations of the position without overwhelming them with having to know everything their first day. It gives them a chance to ask questions and find out the “whys” behind what they do. It also shows them a working routine so they can better develop their own routine. 

MAR TORRES FERNANDEZ The best training I ever had it was at The Grand Hotel of Brighton and it was the half of the day a class room training explaining everything about the hotel, the brand and the department and the other half of the day, training in site about our job. 

Cleveland Alexis On the job training work in Housekeeping ,it help bring out the best in your staff also giving feedback and correcting mistake is the key. 

AVINASH KORLEKAR I fully agree with you Mr.Abdul Manann. 

Samuel Magsipoc On the job training is the most important method we can do to trained and show them the actual application of works in all aspects and areas of the hotels especially the housekeeping department. Must to conduct a daily on the job training so that the standards of cleanliness of the guestrooms as well as the public areas are met to avoid any complaints from our customers.

Kathleen Zwicker All those who only use OJT for training new hires, how high is your staff turnover? We used to immediately OJT new hires (I liken this to throwing them to the wolves) and our turnover rate was over 90%.I have use classroom training first and then OJT for the last 3 years and my turnover rate now is only 10%.

Mary Makuski I agree with Kathleen. OJT is good, but without some kind of background first it overwhelms the new hire. That is why shadowing and classroom training need to be used in the beginning. These eliminate big mistakes that can cost the department in quality service. 

Rahmad Novianto Currently we apply on the job training in DAILY BASIS,,during shift briefing we catch up no more than 20 minutes to refresh the dedicated subject , ,,, Finally this could encourage my team to open their mind and share the weakness or strength from their task and IDEA will come up,,,lucky I have minimum number of turn over 

Marta Perrone While manuals and videos help reinforce the proper methods for cleaning, on the job training is the best way for the majority of people to learn how to do something properly. You train how to do it, you watch, you correct, you watch….and this repetitive action eventually turns the employee into a good housekeeper. 

Mary Makuski I agree with what you are saying, I just believe that the best start is to watch someone else do the job first before the OJT. Shadowing familiarizes the new hire with the present routine before performing that routine.

Rupal Baxi I agree with almost all of the above except one thing.. Training is imperative to a new employee but not limited to just them, It should be constant and continuous process creatively implemented for all employees whether they are 6 months old or 6 years to the organization. Actually training a new employee is easier then the employee that has been monotonously doing the same job from years and is used to with all the “short cuts” and “wrong habits” or “been there / done that ” attitude.
We do a half a day hotel orientation to discuss about the Hotel Mission statement, Hotel standards for safety, security, common policies and procedures.
Within the department, have an hour for one on one meeting to discuss departmental policies like break times, lost & found, pressing etc, given information about hotel configuration, job discription etc and answer any questions they may have. Then shadowing and OJT started and continued until a staff is completely trained and confidant to handle the job indepandantly.
For on going training, departmental monthly meeting provides a good stage to open up discussions on different topics, find out confusions, concerns and suggestions. And let them know latest trends, procedures, tools and guest expectations.
On site webinars, training videos, demonstrations from experts in field are good tools.
We do deep cleaning once a year for every room in slow times and manager personally inspect the room along with the staff – a good one on one refresher training example.
It also could be a whole group training or isolated for specific needs- like carpet care training for houseman and English verbiage training for non English staff.
I would also give the same importance to cross training to understand and appreciate other jobs as well as this multitasking helps employee growth and management flexibility.

Kathleen Zwicker You are right there. On-going training is imperative. After a while, housekeepers cut corners. . They also pass this along to new hires they are OJTing. Seasoned housekeepers can be resistant to changes in methods, procedures, and new technology. This is why it is so important for training in the classroom for new hires as well as recurring training. 

Mary McIntire Every business is differerent. Every company has there own way of doing things. Having an employee train on the job allows them to learn how you in particular want that job done. Allowing your long term employees to train new hires helps your new hires learn the way you want things done and it helps you determine how good your long term workers are. 

POPSY BARRETTO for a new hire after an induction i use shadowing and on the job training.
for an older employee I use on the job and class room.
long term employees need to be motivated to give their best and they are trained to be buddies for the new hire. this helps to build up the morale of the team,

Ed Selkow Would’t the ideal training program incorporate all of the above? What I have seen and experienced is firms with no training program, call on the job training their method. An effective training program would involve all methods mentioned at different times during an employee’s tenure. 

Mary Makuski I agree with you Ed. My department has monthly meetings at which we discuss issues that have arisen in the past month and also we review a method of cleaning or talk about a chemical we use. Sometimes we have a discussion about a problem area and look for solutions to try to alleviate the problem. Sometimes we do OSHA training and review. My staff’s tenures range from 4 years with my organization to 22 years. Throughout those years we have done all of the above training methods. 

Samuel Magsipoc Yes I agree Mr. Ed, aside from daily schedule training program you have also a theoretical to familiarized all the types of chemical names and tools that you use, examples are the code of chemicals that you have to know and to know how to use. I addition of this, the hospitality service and excellence skills training must be imposed to all employees so that they know and to gain their knowledge regarding the standard procedures to meet the guest expectations. Demonstrations are very important in trainings to upgrade their knowledge and handling the guest complaints. 

Anuradha Khot A combination of different training methods, keeping in mind the objectives to be achieved, and participant profile along with the time available for training. 

Minerva Santiago Regular communication very effective 

Mitzi (Margaret) Doolen On the job training to me is the most effective, direct route to go when training someone new to the position, but shadowing is almost the same thing just that you are not doing the job but getting a feeling of what the job entales. Classroom is also necessary when you are training a large group of individuals in the same department. Regular meetings are helpful for reviewing, but not for very important detail training. I am not sure what Job swaps are. 

Sophie Kinloch A mix of all is best. “On the job training” teach employees to physically clean a guest room and bring them up to speed quickly.
“Job swap” helps towards multiskilling which is important to reduce RMI and work monotony amongst employees as well as providing management with enough flexibility.
Shadowing can be good if the employee being shadowed is given enough time to show the work and has the ability to train a new employee.

Dave Thompson If I might, there are a few here getting the idea but in my mind might still be using the incorrect terminology. OJT is the last thing you should want to do as by this time you have invested a great deal into a new hire that you do not really know can cut the mustard. A new hire should have EDUCATION first, not training.
What is the difference? Training is something you do with a dog. It is a reward based way of learning which promotes the continuance of bad habits from others as training is often times done by shadowing a past employee and learning habits, bad as well as good. Education on the other had is learning WHY a person should do a task, procedure or how to use an item or chemical in the operations best practices methods. If an operation will provide proper EDUACATION followed by a test for retention, then management can evaluate the individuals abilities based on the persons cognitive abilities alone before placing them into the OJT, Shadowing or other types of training.
Education MUST be continual as training only is to be used to reinforce proper education. The best teams cleaning for health within our existing indoor environments are properly educated individuals working together for a common goal. Look at any professional sports team and see how they work.
Classroom training is great to reinforce on the tangible and intangible elements of Housekeeping.
Regular feedback is important to share some of the guests good and bad experiences so that everyone can learn from it. It is also good to share other information such as the hotel different target markets, costs and budget, reinforce on hotel values etc….

Nelson Freitas I do agree with Mr Abdul Manann (on job training). Regular communication meetings can be important as well. 

Valerie Moore I think hands on training works best , because its important that the employee understand that being very detailed is not always written.

LOURDES ALVES GARCIA Desde luego, el conjunto de todos los puntos es importante,yo comenzaria por la formacion de cuatro horas de aula, sombreado un par de dias, la formacion en el trabajo otro par de dias y por ultimo las reuniones diarias en el despacho, para mi eso es la mejor formacion

Christoph Hoffmann comment above translated with the help of google 😉
“Of course, the set of all points is important, I would begin by the formation of four hours of classroom, shadowing a couple of days, the training at work another couple of days and finally the daily meetings in the office, to my that’s the best training.” 

Azim Virani On Job raining is the most effective way of development especially in the Housekeeping department. Its all about hands on training to be more effective. 

Yousef Shourdom On the job training, you can see, talk, meet, know and train the staff, but for the new employye the most effective way in the first few days is shadowing.
Also not to forget the training meetings for the oldest staff, for something new or better. 

Achmad Maulana Most of the new staff here in Indonesia coming from Hotel school or Academy they know the basic things and the attitudes, I believed On the job training continue with Shadowing to set our SOP and company standards are more effective,
others reason are to know their levels skill for progress report reason 

Karlhienz C. Newly hired personnels should be guided by a Supervisor and assisted with a well experienced crew to train him or her in the position they applied for. The crew members of the Housekeeping Department need a refresher training once in a while even though they arelong time personnels. Training can make them better and they can become more productive which will result to an excellent service to the Guests. 

ARETI MARKAKI On the job training is the better way of teaching somebody because you have the chance of explaining and correcting his /her mistakes. In the classroom i only give behaviour lessons. 

Michael Mbuyah Rupal has a good suggestion there. Just to add that it is important to identify the concern correctly in the first place. Staff should be subdivided into different segmnets. New staff are trained differently because some of them have never been or worked in a hotel enviropnment. Training new staff have to be more detailed and reasons for doing what we do in housekeeping explained to them detaily to enhance understanding. Current staff should trained on concerns. Housekeeping is a routine operation and some of the concerns may not be due to the fact that the staff do not know the procedure or standards, but because they have been there for so long that they may have the “know it all” attitute and as a result slip here and there. Training should take the form of morning briefings, afternoon handover meetings, job shadow, organised formal training sessions, depending on the concern, its impact and general staff knowledge. It is very important to ensure that we have proper structures in the first place, recruit the right staff, ensure we have proper policies and procedure and that they are being adhered to, proper and mordern working equipments. Once we have all these in place, identifying challnges and casues, resolving them and training our staff to enhance peformance becames easy and exciting. 

Brajesh kumar Rai on the job training most effective for all the department not only house keeping to interect every subject and policy 

Rolan Tigo Shadowing will be more effective way of coaching and councelling to ensure the staff will go into the right directions. Working in multi nationalities, different understanding, language barrier are one of the challenges. 

Samuel Magsipoc When you are entering in the hospitality industries you have to accomplished first the OJT this is the first step to prepare yourself to obtain the proper training of your future job. This is so important to the new staff to follow what they are really done before, it so easy to have a background and training for those who are applying with the same fields of OJT. 

Orwino Gabaon The most effective training method is Shadowing. It is the practical application of class room or lecture method of training. Though OJT is a must in any field of profession but shadowing is a more effective tool to train people “more focus” and enhanced the use of “perception filter” – the more we know people closely considering their cultural frame of interpretation, the easier to influence and inspire them and build a good working relationship with them. 

Ray Iredale We are fortunate to have good long term staff so the regular communication training works well and unless we get something new to train on gentle reminders or opinion requests works well for us. 

balachander balasubramani O J T is the best way for housekeeping training….. 

Narendra Rathore On The Job Training… 

Abdul Manann on the job training is the most effective , 

Abhilash Bandaru Well i would say that it depends on the new staff if they dont have previous experience then shadowing is a good idea for them to undersytand the environment and location but if they come with experience definitely they have to go for classroom to know the standards of the hotel. 

mukhlisin . As I see, the most effective for housekeeping is On the job training 

Nell Weathers We like starting out with a 2 day Orientation to educate our newly hired associates in Company Policies and Procedures, Mission Statement, Branding and a tour of each of our Resort Amenities and the Hotel. Then these new associates spend the first 2 to 3 hours of their 3rd day in a mini department orientation with me after which I turn them over to my Housekeeping Manager for an additional 2 to 3 hours of walking all guest room and housekeeping areas. During this time workplace tools are shown to the new associates and a full explanation of usage and care are provided to the new associate, questions and answers are encouraged during this first day in the department. The next day new associates are assigned to either one of our Self Inspecting Room Attendants or to our Elite Trainer, this OJT last for 5 days at which time the trainer completes our training check list and either signs off on the new associate as being ready to work independently or the trainer suggest further training.
Once training is complete and the new associate has been signed off on they are then assigned a board with less rooms and are gradually built up to carry a full board.
I am pleased to say our turnover rate is minimal generally consisting of our Seasonal hiring.
We start every morning with a 20 minute stand up meeting, where we discuss our Guest Satisfaction Survey scores, cleaning tips, new products/equipment and our daily basic. I make sure to keep all my staff informed on all pertinent information which seems to give them a better understanding of their importance to the daily operation of our Resort. 

Robert Anthony De Brito On the job training is the most effective method of imparting knowledge of specific jobs,especially in housekeeping. This method is also effective when we emphasis the most important elements of attention to detail. 

Skip Spoerke A good housekeeper can teach just about anyone how to clean a room the right way, but I’m looking for more than that in each new hire. I want to see how they interact with the team and for that, shadowing is by far the most valuable training method. Here’s what I do.
I have each new hire shadow a different full-time housekeeper every day for a week. Throughout the day I’ll keep an eye on them to see if they enjoy having each other as company or if there is already drama unfolding between housekeepers. At the end of the day I set aside several minutes for each of them to discuss how they feel the day went. I base retention of the new hire primarily on teamwork and their understanding of housekeeping basics. We can teach the necessary skills and procedures to be a good housekeeper, but we don’t waste time trying to change a person’s talents.
Beyond a housekeeper’s first week, I use an OJT program to ensure all housekeepers (even the full-timers) are following the correct cleaning procedures, have individual and team goals, and that they are making progress toward those goals.

Mary Makuski I agree with you, Skip. Being a part of the team is vital. If the new hire cannot work with the team and there is going to be drama, it is not worth it. Drama is draining to the team. You have a great method there. I do like shadowing for the new hire.