At Hago Next cleaners became craftmen/women

2011 – In January 2011 Hago, a cleaning company launched ‘Hago Next’ an initiative that should bring a turnaround in the cleaning industry. The main differences with traditional cleaning are : only cleaning during daytime (normally the cleaning is done in the night), checkout based on customer satisfaction rather than on the basis of hours, cleaning is again valued as a profession, decent pay and work is supported by a smartphone application.


Why this is social innovation
The new business model creates a win-win situation for both employer and employee. Increased transparency in costs and time spent as well as better quality, result in more satisfied customers for the employer. Furthermore, there is less turnover among employees. Because of the cleaning during the day the employee has the possibility of a full contract, is better appreciated because he or she is visible for the people in the buildings to be cleaned who work during the day and can be proud of his work again. The employment relations shift from control and formal management to more informal management and dialogue. Finally, there are more options for flexible work.

In early 2010, there was a nine weeks strike by cleaners in the Netherlands. The competition on price in the branch had led to an excessive workload and above all the cleaners demanded respect. Also Hago was dissatisfied with the effects of this price competition. This did not fit with the company’s values such as: working together, offering good value to customers and being a good employer. By managing with a short term perspective there were many failure costs, a high turnover and absenteeism, poor coordination of appointments with customers and employees which in turn led to irritation and increase of costs for communication. With the new concept ‘Hago Next’, the company is committed to a reduction of the costs of failure. The main objectives are: an eight out of ten for both customer and employee satisfaction.

Traditionally much of the cleaning work is done in the evenings and there is a high degree of standardization. Employees have a set list of what and when to be done. The aim of the new approach is that companies become less vulnerable, since the workers that are present can easily take it over from employees that are absent.

The new business model is very different. First, the cleaning is done during the day. So the cleaner sees how the property is used, and can adapt his/her operation to that. Cleaning becomes a craft again, the cleaner gets more responsibility. Based on his or her experience, knowledge and consultation with the users of the building to be cleaned, he or she can best determine what, where, how often and in what order should be cleaned. An additional advantage is that customers can observe the cleaning and that it is done correctly.
The cleaners are supported by a smartphone application @ lly, thus they can scan areas that have been cleaned, orders can be passed to the cleaner on the spot, cleaners can order detergents or can report defects directly. All functionalities of the mobile phone are used (including camera , GPS , QR code scanning), and everyone can use it almost without any explanation since it has a simple interface. Besides the convenience that @lly provides for the cleaner, the application also provides management reports, that for example provide insight into what has been done and how much time it takes to clean a certain object with a determined level of quality.

The cleaners are further supported by a coach. This person used to be called ‘object leader’ and was mainly engaged in checking the work. Now this check is largely automated and the coach can focus on the " human side" of management. Hago Next also invests in professional training and communication courses.
Not only for employees but also for the customer there is a change. Hago Next bills  on content and not on made hours. If customer satisfaction is lower than eight out of ten, the customer may pay less. Via @lly transparency is given in the number of hours required for a certain level of quality. This is the justification for the earnings. Customer satisfaction is measured by the cleaners themselves who interview supervisors and other residents of the buildings they clean and note the responses in their smartphone.


At the time of writing this report Hago Next is operating this way for more than six months and the first results are positive. The objectives for customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are achieved, employee turnover is only two percent and the total cost of ownership for a medium-sized object is lower than in the old situation, despite a higher hourly rate. This is because the costs of failure are much lower. The customer need not spend time and money to react to failure, control, consultation and possibly even legal proceedings.

Customers report that the dreaded nuisance of vacuuming during the day is not that bad. They also like the fact that the cleaner discusses whether the cleaning suits at a certain moment, that they see that the cleaning is done and that there is contact with the cleaner. In the old situation the cleaner would sometimes ‘slide along the wall’ when someone was still working. That often gave uncomfortable feeling.
Employees take pride in their work and feel responsible for the results achieved. Not everyone can equally well cope with the changes, especially to some communicating with the residents of the buildings to be cleaned appears very difficult. Others are easier to adapt. Thus, one of the supervisors changed her clothes. In the evenings she always wore black, very covering clothing. Now, as she is more visible to the customers she has created a more open look wearing still covering but more colorful clothes; she had followed an advise on how to dress.

One cleaning team that did not perform well in the beginning, finally is flourished completely. Together they looked at the planning and distribution of work and then adjusted in such a way that everybody executes tasks that suit him or her the best. All team members are working in their strength and are motivated to realize the eight in customer satisfaction. More often problems caused by absenteeism or scheduling are resolved among the workers themselves.

In short they work smarter and more flexible. The customers are more satisfied and pay less in the end. The employees are satisfied and feel professionals. Hago Next is a shining example for the cleaning industry.

More information can be found at Hago Next