Molding a Successful Sweeper Operator

Being a sweeper operator isn’t the most glamorous job out there. It’s hard work, and it’s a dirty job, with odd hours. It’s not for everyone and finding just the right person often times takes several attempts. Not only are you tasked with finding someone that’s not allergic to hard work, but often times the primary operating hours are overnight. Then there’s the trust factor. You’re trusting your expensive equipment and your hard earned accounts to just one or a handful of individuals every day.
Training is a huge key to that success. It can take time, but consider it an investment as you plan to have that operator with you for years to come. The training process can be pretty straightforward. When someone applies for a job, the first steps you should consider are a road test with one of your seasoned operators and a drug test. These are non-negotiable. You can’t take a risk when it comes to an operator, and this will allow you to weed out most of the problematic applicants.
If the applicant passes those steps and you’re satisfied with their experience and references, hire them. At that point, assign them to a shift doing nothing more than shadowing your best operator for the first two weeks. During this time, the applicant rides with the operator so he or she can learn the ins and outs/do’s and don’ts as well as show them how to care for the sweeper. This should include pre-inspection and post-inspection procedures, thorough cleaning and basic troubleshooting and light maintenance.
During this shadowing-period depend on the lead operator for feedback. Does the applicant follow instructions? Is he a safe driver/operator? Does he or she have good communication skills? Does the applicant exhibit any questionable behavior?
At the end of the two weeks, if you are pleased with the applicant’s skills, given them their own route and responsibilities. Closely monitor this applicant and associated customers for the next couple months, to watch for complaints or any other potential problems. Customer feedback will give you a good insight into an operator’s ability to do their job correctly.
Be cautious with operators that come from other sweeping companies. Why did they leave the other company? Remember there are always three sides to every story! Also be aware that bad habits are hard to break. Can they/will they conform to your policies and procedures? Be open with them. Explain that while suggestions are always welcome, they are required to follow your rules until those rules are changed. They are there for a reason and to be respected and adhered to.
There is no guarantee when it comes to operators. They are using your most valuable asset with the most potential for damage or injury. Given this, it’s worth it to take the time to make sure you have hired the right person.

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