How a culture of fearless caring can help your company shineJess Jukes
“Have you ever noticed how an unclean bathroom changes the way you think about a restaurant?” muses Andrew Schaberg, Managing Partner of Triad Cleaning Solutions, a Tampa-based commercial cleaning company. “Or how a funky smell in a doctor’s office affects your trust in that doctor?”
Schaberg noticed. He saw how a “commodified culture” of business cleaning affected everyone involved – and not for the better.
There was clear and compelling room for improvement, he argues: in the levels of responsiveness, reliability and caring between commercial cleaning companies, their employees, and the businesses they served.
Schaberg and his team of 3 veteran entrepreneurs resolved to do better.
“We are family,” he explains. “Our family-business culture means that transparency, loyalty, and communication are the bedrock of what we do.”
Flash forward nearly a decade later, and Triad’s value-based approach has led to exponential growth across five states in the eastern United States. Moreover, under the leadership of Schaberg and his executive team, Triad grew into a company and brand whose industry leadership is widely felt across the regions it serves.
The 3Rs and an unabashed culture of “out-caring”
While Triad’s commitments to community contribution and environmental stewardship set Triad apart from its competitors, Schaberg argues that their core values-based practices are what truly stand out.
Schaberg explains that 3R’s create the triad of Triad: enduring relationships, guaranteed reliability, and exceptional results. Schaberg and his team identified these priorities as ones that would directly engage with long-outstanding needs in the commercial cleaning industry. No-shows, low pay and wages, difficult work environments, and lack of security and accountability all are challenges facing the conventional commercial cleaning industry, he says.
Taken together, the 3Rs create a culture and context of caring – unique in an industry offering commercial cleaning services for construction, health care, automotive dealerships, and other workplaces. The impact of Schaberg’s vision and commitment is felt by Triad’s clients and businesses served, its employees, and the communities in which Triad operates.
Schaberg emphasizes that these values and practices are not unique to commercial cleaning, but can be applied across industry, in any type of business.
Triad out-cares for their clients.
Schaberg explains that Triad looks for opportunities to defy expectation and exceed standard levels of service. “We’re the weirdest janitorial service around,” he laughs, “because we’re the only custodians who show up with surprise gifts.”
The Triad model of “reverse engineering” ensures that even prospective clients are treated with unusual consideration and generosity. In the commercial cleaning world, business owners take note because “they’ve just never been treated that way,” says Schaberg. And Triad clients learn over time to expect the unexpected.
Triad invests thousands of dollars upfront into each company that signs on, he says. His team comes in and works overtime, deep cleaning and scrubbing until the workplace is up to their level of satisfaction.
On Monday morning, employees walk into their workplace and see it sparkle and shine as never before. The bar has been reset.
Importantly, Triad ensures that all members on cleaning teams are uniformed, badged, background-checked, drug-tested, legally residing in the United States and paid fair wages on time. No one else in the industry comes close to these standards, Schaberg says, and this benchmark creates peace of mind for clients, whose valuable assets in the workspace will be cared for with honesty and integrity.
And when troubles occur, Schaberg and his team literally put their money where their mouth is. The Triad guarantee is that they will make it right, right away, and do everything in their power to solve any problems.
Recently, a valued client experienced a theft in the office, and before they discovered that their own employee was responsible, Schaberg had written and delivered a check in the value of the missing assets – making very clear that no matter what, Triad would be part of a solution instead of a problem.
“It’s simple: we win because of the relationships we build. We admit our mistakes if and when they happen and we make our clients look good,” Schaberg explains.
Triad out-cares for their team.
But in an industry like commercial cleaning where service employees are the front lines, it not only pays to invest in your people — it’s just the right thing to do, according to Schaberg.
“Our employees are our heartbeat. They are the secret sauce, and our lifeline to information and communication. We rely on employees to notice a door ajar or something that’s broken. Then we can relay it to the client and offer to have it remedied. Our service teams are our eyes and ears so that we can build a relationship on trust and service,” he says.
So Triad and Schaberg create a family-business culture by meeting employees where they are, helping them reach personal goals, playing to their strengths, and taking care of their families.
Working for Triad means access to English classes, financial literacy mentoring, meals from partnered restaurants, Christmas bonuses, Thanksgiving turkeys, and book reading groups on self-selected personal growth topics. Employees at the corporates offices are invited to bring their pets to work on Fridays, a move that Schaberg says makes a workplace feel more like home, like family.
Schaberg argues that a high level of consistency, opportunity, and personalized attention allows Triad to recruit and keep the most loyal teams comprised of workers for whom “work” means a chance to do what they love, in a supportive environment.
And taken together, extraordinary care creates unusual loyalty in an industry known for high rates of turnover.
Triad out-cares for their community.
“We have to always be scanning for opportunities to give and do good,” Schaberg says.
While the daily responsibilities of Triad include cleaning floors and windows, power washing, cleaning upholstery, new constriction cleanup and making auto-dealerships sparkle, Schaberg envisions a much wider reach for taking care.
Triad currently partners with more than seven charitable and educational causes in the Tampa area and used the holiday season to expand its giving reach. In a campaign called “Random Acts of Cleanness,” friends and fans could submit a photo of themselves picking up trash in their community.
For each submission, Triad donated $5 to The Salvation Army Tampa. Nearly 200 submissions raised $1,000 for charity at a time of year when, as Schaberg explains, “People are constantly asked for fundraising contributions and many have to say no more than yes. Random Acts of Cleanness is our way of chipping in, so instead of you writing the check, we help keep things clean. We take the headache and financial strain away.”
Inventive and engaging, Random Acts of Cleanness reflects the best of Schaberg and his vision for Triad: building relationships with integrity and reliability to offer exceptional results in an industry fundamentally refreshed by a values-led perspective.
Now tell us: how could your company or industry start to “out-care” for the people and communities who matter? What’s one small change YOU could make to live your values?