From cleaning assistant to object manager: “Dealing with all cultures is an art”

At first, Yilmaz is quite nervous when we meet. Talking about himself and being in the spotlight is not in line with his modesty. When he is asked what his job is all about, he starts telling. “For a long time I was a collaborating foreman in special cleaning. In that role, I took up a little more. For example, I did the planning, I was already doing workplace inspections and making quotes. In fact, I make sure everything on the store floor runs smoothly. I am the first point of contact for my colleagues and the same usually applies to the customer. I recently moved on to the position of outpatient property manager. ”

It does not matter if the phone rings at eight in the evening or at five in the morning.

A lot of rules

He does this in many different places. From hospitals and logistics centers to printing works and metal factories. “Different kinds of companies mean different kinds of rules,” Yilmaz says. Safety is extremely important in a world of special cleaning. So it’s not a matter of going in and just getting started. “I can not just put my colleagues to work. It starts with identifying the possible risks and then taking the right measures. ”

And each location has its own challenges in that area. “Sometimes it’s not only different from company to company, but also from company location.” He adds very soberly: “But in the end, the nature of the work is often quite the same: special cleaning. Only the circumstances under which we do so are completely different. “

No nine-to-five mentality

When asked what a typical workday looks like, the professional cleaner has to laugh. “I do not have an answer to that, because every day is different. Even working hours vary enormously. We also conduct emergency preparedness. It does not matter if the phone rings at eight in the evening or at five in the morning. The most important thing is that we help the customer and carry out the work properly. That is why we are ready to go day and night. ”

It is also one of the most attractive aspects of his work for Yilmaz: flexibility and freedom. Because, he says, he is not made to work at the same desk from nine to five every day.


Yilmaz begins to beam: “I have to travel a lot to work, so I spend a lot of time in the car. Most people always drive the whole route on the highway, but I often get off a little earlier and then drive a little further inside. Then you see so many beautiful places and buildings! Nice with a soft, Spanish music in the background. It’s really fun for me, and that way I take a break in between. The work can be quite busy and stressful. Then it is precisely the moments of rest in between that are important for maintaining balance. ”

He becomes more serious again: “I believe that you do better at work when you are rested. This applies not only to me, but also to my colleagues. That’s why I always try to make sure they are not too busy, and I also insist that they rest on time. ”

Suddenly the boss

What is leadership really like? “In the beginning, the shift was pretty hard for me,” Yilmaz says honestly. “I used to be one of them. But I kept growing and suddenly became ‘boss’, while some of them had more years of experience than I had. Some initially had a hard time accepting it. Fortunately, the better after a month or two.They saw that I did not sit over them and I explained very patiently what my vision was.One by one I took my time for everyone and I figured out how I could best “Because everyone is unique, so you have to deal with everyone differently. It’s almost a kind of art.”

At first I was one of them, but then I suddenly became the ‘boss’.

Have trained a lot

Yilmaz tells how he got to where he is today. “In 2014, I came to the Netherlands from Turkey. Then I quickly got on board with Gom Schoonhoudt, where I started as an interior designer. About a year later, I switched to Gom Specialist Cleaning, where I specialized in floor maintenance. In 2017, I switched to a collaborating foreman, and recently I became an outpatient property manager. ”

He proudly mentions the cleaning courses he has taken over the past eight years, in addition to studying hotel management in his home country. There are quite a few: “A training in hospitality, the basic floor maintenance course, in-depth cleaning of the kitchen, top management, Cleanroom, of course VCA and a language course.”

keep trying

We’ll talk about the latter for a while, because Yilmaz masters the language very well for someone who did not speak a word of Dutch eight years ago. “I was offered a one-on-one language course from Gom. There I built up a nice basic level. But then you have to keep making an effort to get ahead. In addition, I noticed that the professional world also has its own language, with harder words. Therefore, I started practicing a lot and also started reading, especially the newspaper. My Dutch may not be perfect yet, but I think I can make myself quite understood now. ”

A positive attitude towards customers is important. I always present myself properly.

Hard work

Finally: does Yilmaz have any tips for cleaning staff who read his story and also want to grow? “Be yourself, set goals, talk to your manager about this and work hard. In my opinion, this is the first tip for employees who want to grow. A positive attitude towards customers is also important. The moment I enter a customer, I always present myself properly. I would never just go to work anywhere, ”he adds. “I always try to start a conversation and look for similarities, things we may have in common. In addition, self-confidence is very important. I always try to go a little further. It is seen, appreciated and – like me – it gives you opportunities to develop yourself further. ”

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