“Transparency, honesty, kindness, good stewardship, even humor, work in business at all times,” says John Gerzema, CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics and author discussing corporate cultures.

There is nothing more important to an ongoing, strong client partnership than trust and one of the most effective ways to ensure this develops and endures is with transparency. Providing transparency involves sharing the good news as well as the not so good news. It also means that the building service contractor explain the steps he or she is taking to reach the desired outcomes.

We should add that transparency is a two-way street. Just as your customer expects you to put all the cards on the table, so to speak, we must also expect them to be actively involved and provide feedback. In other words, transparency is a joint responsibility.

Partnership in Action: An Example

One of my clients worked with a customer, helping them eliminate the use of trash liners. This company has thousands of employees so we can assume it also has thousands of trash cans all lined with trash liners changed just about every night.

Because the client is very sustainability focused, is always open to reducing costs and open up storage space in their facility, the contractor and the client partnered to find a way to lessen the use of liners.

The first thing the contractor did is to see if it is economically feasible. Would it take more time to clean soiled trash cans than to install a trash liner in them from the start? If so, it could eliminate any cost savings for the customer. Time studies were conducted, and it was found it would not increase the cleaning workers' time, so the savings were possible.

Then, in partnership with the client, a pilot program was started, and the partnership grew with the client’s staff brought into the pilot program. Both the client and the contractor discussed the plan with office staff and urged their cooperation. This was an ongoing process, but at the end of six months, it proved rewarding.

Sustainability, cost savings, and more storage space all materialized. In fact, it proved so successful the program is now being implemented throughout the corporate campus. Further, it meets our definition of what a partnership is all about… a shared journey between two or more parties that produces useful results, faster than could have been accomplished working alone.

Ron Segura is founder and president of Segura & Associates, an international janitorial consulting company based in the U.S. He has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the cleaning industry with ten of those years spent overseeing the cleaning of over 4.5 million square feet for The Walt Disney Company. Ron can be contacted through his company website at www.seguraassociates.com.