Maideasy has so far interviewed 2000 Malaysians to become the cleaning crew. All have heard our pitch, and most proceeded to training. Many of them think that cleaning homes is an easy job. There are untold challenges about this story of an easy job, apart from immaculate cleaning of homes, the crew will also have to learn how to be courteous to customer, sometimes ‘negotiating’ when met with difficult customers, strategising which area to clean first if the house is too messy, etc. Upon investigation, many of our crew dropped off the system because of these little things unmentioned in the ‘easy job’ narrative, (but informed during our training), and thought, ‘perhaps cleaning isn’t just for me.’

And when we are faced with those kinds of numbers, it’s very difficult for us to discern beyond interviewing and training, which are the good ones, which are not. “The proof is in the pudding” as they say, (not sure whether that’s the right idiom to use), we only get to know whether someone is a good crew after he/she has done a few homes. And by that assessment, we assess their overall ratings through feedback, customer reviews, and crew feedback.

There was once an unwanted incident that happened with our crew. Our crew stole a gold bangle. Maideasy’s policy on theft is very strict. Once you are caught, you cannot work for us again.

Theft incidents are extremely rare. Of the tens of thousands of homes we cleaned so far, only a handful of cases are reported. This cleaning crew has talked to me before, and she begged for us to retain her (she has returned the bangle to the owner), and promise to not do it again.

My moral dilemma is this. I have had a personal chat with the crew, and I knew that she was the sole bread winner of a special child, which from the monies she receives cleaning for Maideasy, she used it to send her child to a care centre. Removing her from Maideasy would mean, cutting her income to pay for her child’s care. Even the customer tried to plea with me to let her stay, as the crew comes from a difficult background and she was the main carer of her family.

We had a long chat about this over Whatsapp. My team and I, a few experienced in the services industry, hotels and airlines, said the most intuitive thing to do, remove her. Our programmers, a little more philosophical about it, asked is there another way we could solve this problem without doing damage to either parties.

I kept turning on my bed at night thinking about it, that I had to consult my friend, Elisha of SOLS247, of what is the best way. SOLS247 works with the B40 in providing them with mental healthcare, so I thought, she’s the best one to confide my worries to.

Could I refer her to another organisation that needs help from a woman, with low education, and her skills available are only cleaning and ironing? That was one of the suggestion I put on the table.

After an hour of discussing, the damage to Maideasy should we refer her to another organisation would be something we have to carry. The gentlest way to let her go is for an ‘exit interview.’ Talk to the former crew, tell her she’s a good cleaner and point out to her, her mistake that impedes her from keeping a job.

When we make decisions like these at Maideasy, we don’t do it lackadaisical or haphazard in our decision process. We try to understand the weight of our decisions on those involved, yet at the same time keeping the integrity of the company.

I know, as more and more crews and customers come onboard Maideasy, we will face even tougher challenges. The trick is for us, is to weigh them with deep understanding and careful consideration of the final verdict.