From cleaning lady to inspector: Tamara’s story at Multi Masters Group began in 2004. 18 years later, she can now count herself among the ancients. Tamara first started working as a cleaning lady at Cleaning Masters, but after the birth of her first child, the irregular hours became increasingly difficult to combine with her family. Cleaning Masters came up with a nice proposal.
How did Cleaning Masters come across your path?
My mum used to clean in the port of Antwerp, so I already did an occasional holiday job there. When I graduated, I first worked for another cleaning company for two years, but the collaboration wasn’t that smoothly. I started looking for a new job and that’s how I ended up at Cleaning Masters. It was via Nadine, someone who already worked here and whom I knew. When I was hired as cleaning lady, I was immediately allowed to ‘butterfly’ for her, which was fun.
Yes, that’s what we call it here. If someone falls ill, for example, there is a permanent replacement for that person. So that’s ‘butterflying’: often very early hours, without really having a fixed schedule.
From cleaning lady to inspector: take the plunge
How long have you been ‘butterflying’?
I did it for four years. But after the birth of my first child, the early and irregular hours were too difficult to combine. I was immediately honest with the management and then said I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. During my maternity rest, suddenly the question came from Cleaning Masters whether I wanted to take the step to inspection. I hesitated for a while, because you suddenly get a lot more responsibility, but in the end I decided to take the plunge. Everyone accepted me immediately.
“Cleaning Masters saw that I could handle the responsibility and gave me the opportunity.”
A job with a lot of responsibility is a great opportunity.
Yes, Cleaning Masters suggested it. They saw that I had the potential to take on that responsibility and gave me the chance. Of course, it was an advantage that I had experience on the shop floor. It’s not the same if you don’t have that experience. Now, for example, I already knew better how to deal with the cleaning staff.
But you didn’t have experience in inspection yet?
No, and that wasn’t a problem at all. The best way to learn is to just go straight to work. And they gave me that opportunity. It did help a lot that I knew the inspection team was behind me. You could always go to someone with questions. And that is how we are trying to approach new employees now too. Of course, they also have a lot of questions and we know how much it can help if you have that support behind you. There really is a family atmosphere here.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
The biggest challenge is finding good staff every time and maintaining good contact with the customer. This is only possible thanks to good follow-up. I am also known in the team as someone who keeps a close eye on things. If you don’t show up at the customer’s premises for two or three months, the complaints come naturally. The more you visit and the more attention you give them, the more they see that you are working on it. It is important for the customer to have the feeling ‘they know what goes on in our workplace’.
After the step from cleaning lady to inspector: “A very challenging job”
I get the impression that you really do feel comfortable here.
Otherwise I wouldn’t have been here for 18 years either, right! (laughs) But I also notice the company’s ambitions. Multi Masters Group is pushing very hard to keep growing. Customer-wise, we are also strong. We know we may not be the cheapest firm, but we have the highest quality. I fully support that. The fact that every day is different also makes my job very challenging. There is definitely stress too, but that’s everywhere.
“The inspection team was always behind me, which helped enormously.”
Do you feel a lot of appreciation for your work?
Definitely. And that’s also what we said as an inspection team, that maybe there could be gratitude more often, because our job is not always obvious. Our managers really listen to the things we say here, to our concerns. Lately, we’ve noticed a lot more appreciation for the work we do. But the team-buildings also help with that.
I can see you smiling already… Tell me more about those team-buildings.
There are some really fun ones! The last one we did was an anti-skid course. But we’ve also gone karting and bowling and there are also dinners from time to time. Then you feel that the group is really cohesive. Those are moments where you feel that what you do throughout the year is effectively appreciated.
Finally, how do you look back on your time at your course? Would you change anything?
Very positively, and no, I wouldn’t change anything. At other firms, you often hear that you are all alone as an inspection. That’s different here. There is always someone there. In addition, our private lives are taken into account. We have a lot of freedom in our job with flexible hours. The fact that I was given the opportunity to transfer from cleaning lady to inspector shows once again how hard the company is committed to its people.