Model a Positive Attitude Toward the Portable Restroom Industry When Onboarding New Employees

Model a Positive Attitude Toward the Portable Restroom Industry When Onboarding New Employees

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New employees are a blank slate for your portable restroom company. You never know what they will achieve or do while they are with your company. The way you onboard them can have a huge impact on that. Onboarding also can provide them with a positive first impression of your company and, most likely, of the portable sanitation industry too. 

For years, friends have introduced me to their friends or family by laughing and saying, “You will never believe what she does!” I initially laugh along, but then I educate them on how amazing our industry is. Yes, it is bathrooms. Yes, it smells. Yes, it can be really gross at times. And yet, I have stood at the start of the New York City Marathon, I have watched a papal mass from behind the stage and I got to go to Martha Stewart’s house (which was my personal favorite). And I did these things because of my job!

When a new employee starts, I like to tell them about these amazing events I have worked or the really awesome locations that you get to see from behind the wheel of a pump truck. I want to open their eyes to all the opportunities out there. There is not an industry in the world that doesn’t need us at some time. This is especially important if the new employee is in sales. I want them to see that the world is their oyster. 

Another important part of onboarding is educating employees on the correct language to use when talking to customers. Call equipment by its correct names. For example, it is always a portable toilet — not a shitter or a johnny-on-the-spot. 

In addition, I really hate bathroom humor and try to impart the same attitude on my employees. To put this in perspective: I am the granddaughter and cousin of plumbers, plus I have spent almost 15 years in the portable sanitation industry. There is not a joke out there that I haven’t heard before. It is really hard to laugh when the thousandth customer tells me that I must be No. 1 in the No. 2 business. I politely smile and redirect the conversation every single time.

I do this because it is important that my employees recognize that I don’t want them using bathroom humor either and that I model the same behaviors I want them to use. Don’t think that I take myself too seriously because I don’t. However, I do take my job seriously and want my employees to do the same. 

I also think it is essential that new people understand how important the drivers and technicians are to our industry. So, I make every new employee spend a day during onboarding in a pump truck with a route driver. Route drivers work hard and they have incredible knowledge about the area they service. I can tell an employee what a hook toilet is all day, but until they see one moved around a job site, they cannot begin to comprehend.

Let’s be honest. People are always going to think what we do is funny. And there will always be some people who look down on the industry. It is our job to educate people on what we do and why it is so important. A new employee is an amazing opportunity to spread the word.


About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.



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