Rather than being a reactive business, DAD Services can be strategic at the senior management level as their work with PCV’s Good Jobs, Good Business led to the hiring of 4 new managers.
DAD Services of Oakland, California is a janitorial company that specialize in providing top-notch commercial cleaning for San Francisco Bay Area businesses. The company was established in 1998 by Donald Jacko Sr., a native Oakland resident, and has always been a minority-owned, family-run business. DAD Services has a diverse group of clients including medical institutions, investigative services, and security companies at their various locations. As part of his business philosophy, DAD Services aims to employ disadvantaged people, particularly formerly incarcerated individuals.
We first met Donald in 2016 when Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) made a small loan to DAD Services. That funding helped make the company bankable, and shortly after Donald secured a line of credit from Bank of the West. DAD Services has also taken full advantage of PCV’s free Business Advising program, which pairs small business owners with pro-bono business advisors. Since joining the Business Advising program in 2016, Donald has been paired with a total of three advisors receiving mentorship in budgeting, financial forecasting, and human resources.
DAD Services is also a participant in PCV’s Good Jobs, Good Business toolkit launch pilot program, an initiative to provide business owners with the resources they need to offer quality jobs. DAD Services has been working on implementing the toolkit with pro-bono advisor Jennifer Levy, a retired Partner at Rockwood Capital, LLC. Jennifer has nearly three decades of professional and managerial experience, including growing teams, which has made her an invaluable resource for the DAD Services team as they set out to think through which area of the toolkit they wanted to tackle.
To determine which area to focus on, DAD Services followed the toolkit’s advice by asking their employees a simple, powerful question: “How can our company be better?” Through these conversations, Donald grew to better understand there was a need for middle management at their company, so the company began interviewing employees for these roles. Coming out of these interviews, DAD Services ultimately promoted four employees internally, rather than hiring new staff, and trained their newly promoted employees to become effective managers. Through their work with Jennifer, and using the Toolkit as a guide, DAD Services has put in place several initiatives outlined in the Hiring, Training, and Professional Development and Employee Engagement sections, leveraging both to build workplaces that set their employees up for success.
These managers oversee employees’ training, performance evaluations, and ongoing management (e.g. if Donald receives a complaint from a client that an employee has not done his job correctly, the middle manager addresses the complaint with the employee).
Dad Services also consolidated training videos on YouTube for employees, which they had not previously done. Donald compiled videos of specific cleaning tasks (e.g. how to mop different types of floors, how to strip a floor, how to clean a bathroom). Trainings now incorporate these videos so that employees better understand what their jobs entail, and the employees can access the videos at any time on their phone or computer. Previous training included direct on-the-job training and the company handbook (both of which are still part of the process). Videos are now integral to the training.
Along these same lines, they updated company handbooks to ensure safety procedures were appropriately documented, simplifying administrative procedures that were formerly in place. The handbook is available in each of the janitor’s company closets so that employees can access it at any time.
Using the Good Jobs, Good Business toolkit has empowered DAD Services to plan and respond to contracts from different sectors in a more prepared and agile manner. With the appropriate staffing model and more easily accessible training materials, staff members are equipped with the structure, tools, and resources to perform their jobs. Previously, DAD Services would have had to spend time figuring out the appropriate staffing model and finding the right training materials for a given project in a specific industry. Rather than being a reactive business (e.g. making decisions based on short-term client demands), they can be strategic at the senior management level now that they have hired middle management.
Additionally, they are more able to respond to opportunities that arise; for example, they can respond to short-term contracts where they will be paid by lump sum and are tapping their subcontractor network. The Toolkit has taught them how to develop their organization by giving them practical guidance to do so. While the janitorial services industry requires specialized materials to train employees that aren’t contained within the Toolkit, having it nudged them to pull together the right training materials into resources for their employees.
DAD Services also hopes their improved employee training will help them limit attrition and absenteeism, as their employees will be better trained and therefore set up for success on their jobs. DAD Services cited that employees seem more comfortable in their roles and better understand the connection between cleaning and safety. Cleaning is a heavily regulated industry, so employees need to be aware of requirements and adhere to standards when on job sites; DAD Services shared that providing training has helped lower these administrative costs in a couple of key ways:
- If employees don’t pay attention while on site, they can cause a liability problem, which increases calls to DAD Services or workers compensation’s offices. By training them appropriately, this is happening less often.
- Insurance companies require more from cleaning companies as cleaning has become more complex (e.g. requiring special equipment like protective burn gear). Employees must know how to properly use this protective gear to help minimize insurance costs.
Looking forward, DAD Services plans to continue the work they’ve been doing and will keep refining and building their approach to training. They also plan to invest in hiring and refining their scheduling practices. As Donald Jr., Donald Sr.’s son, learns the business, he has benefitted from the teachings of the Toolkit and these efforts. With these investments in their employees, DAD Services hopes to see greater profitability, employee stability, and increased employee awareness of the company’s goals and plans for growth
Donald stated, “Things run more like a well-oiled machine.”