Recruiting good staff, especially if you are an SME, can be expensive and time-consuming. But all that painstaking work can be wasted if you don’t have the right induction programme and training in place, says Cleankill Technical and Training Manager Chris Davis

There is no doubt that pest control is a fascinating but unusual career, and I have always said that “You never forget your first week”. However that could apply to most professions, so it is absolutely critical to get it right and get a new recruit to understand your company ethos and culture – first impressions really do count! If everybody involved in staff recruitment and training makes sure the first experience for a new team member is positive, it can only benefit your company. 

All organisations can benefit from a full, well-organised training programme for new recruits particularly if you are in a service industry. For Cleankill the decision to focus on training follows many years of interviewing candidates with previous industry experience.

I’ve interviewed many candidates over the years and it had become clear that there was a massive disparity in the quality of training staff were receiving at the start of the careers. Of course, some candidates are receiving what we would consider to be appropriate levels of training but, all too often, supposedly experienced candidates had received barely any training. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Why would you want to send untrained people out to interact with your customers or potential customers? We want staff that work hard, enjoy their work and come across as professional to our customers. The hope is that some of those customers write good reviews about what we are doing and spread the word.

A good training programme for new starters should include a comprehensive overview that encompasses everything from what a candidate should bring with them on their first day to selecting the right staff to carry out the new employee’s in-the-field training. It also means ensuring that good trainers get full recognition for their good work in training new recruits to be professional and an asset to your business.

This isn’t just a problem that Cleankill faces when recruiting, it is a problem for many companies. There have always been businesses that do training well, but there needs to be greater consistency across sectors such as pest control. It’s crucial to make sure that knowledge and experience are properly passed on so you can train and develop staff to a high standard of professionalism and technical competency.

Also important is making sure all staff understand each other’s roles. Cleankill has introduced a programme for administration staff to spend a day out accompanying surveyors and technicians so that can see what they do. This is paying massive dividends in improving staff understanding of other people’s roles in the business and building up good inter-team relationships. Mind you, so far we haven’t had any administration staff offer to go out and help treat a bed bug job yet, but I am sure it is only a matter of time!

Among his many roles at Cleankill, Chris oversees staff training and development. In 2017, he received the Charles Keeble Award at the British Pest Management Awards in recognition of his outstanding commitment and performance in training and development.

Now employing 50 staff, award-winning Cleankill Pest Control offers eradication and preventative services for all public health pests, including: mice; rats; cockroaches; wasps; fleas; squirrels and pest birds. As a registered waste carrier, Cleankill can also remove pigeon debris and other waste.

With offices in Surrey, East Sussex, Bristol and Buckinghamshire, Cleankill has many customers throughout London, Surrey, Sussex, the Home Counties, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

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