blue building blocks

Although a powerhouse leader today, Valarie never completed college before launching her professional career. Despite her success, she emphasizes the importance of education. That is exemplified in the way she motivates employees to be the best versions of themselves and always strive to climb the next rung on the ladder. 

When Valarie says that "We're a family, not just a company," the sentiment rings true. At the head of the business, she's created a role that is not just fulfilling on a professional level, but gives her an opportunity to find reward in creating a better workplace for her employees.  

Make it Real 

The real key to Bolana's success is the sincerity with which they approach their endeavors. Their investment in the future of their workers goes beyond preaching — it's a real commitment.  

They provide scholarships to dependents of their workers, host annual company receptions, retreats, outings, parties, and more. They started small, mentoring 7th and 8th graders at a local academy, before increasing the frequency of their visits and the number of students. Now, they mentor youth from all over the community and offer internships and work opportunities to provide valuable experience.  

Bolana also provides meals for homeless shelters, participates in community outreach and events, and leaves a strong footprint wherever they go. The value of positive associations can't be overstated.  

"One of the things we strive to do with the profits from our company is to help others — our community and our team members. One of the groups we really love to help is the Alzheimer's Association. One of our close friends has Alzheimer's and the cause is near to our hearts," Valarie explains.  

Their investment in both time and money into the community provides immeasurable returns, one of which is a strong company culture and respect from the staff. Even through this Great Resignation, Bolana has experienced strong staff retention, thanks in part to consistent employee recognition programs.  

Even after COVID-19 struck, the Dock’s quickly shifted gears and found ways to continue their mentoring and educational efforts via distance learning. When it comes to making a company matter to employees, the Dock’s believe it's the compassion for life outside the office that helps with recruitment.  

Trust and Truth 

With a strong community and company culture in place, the Dock's are continuing to focus their attention on equally impressive customer relationships. At the root of those relationships is honesty and integrity. 

"We build trust in two ways," says Valarie. "Our employees trust us; they know that they'll have everything they need when they're out on job sites where it's easy to feel isolated. They have the training they need, and we connect with them so they know they're supported." 

In fact, one of Valarie's favorite projects is being entrusted with the cleaning of nearly 5 miles of underground tunnels at Dulles International Airport. "We take around 20 employees and start at midnight each day — it ends up taking around 30 days."  

That level of trust makes the clients and employees feel valued and safe. Because the company takes care to hire workers that fit into the overall culture, they can be certain that frontline workers and clients are a good fit. Each client has unique needs and requires various degrees of interfacing; Bolana pays attention to who is being sent to which jobs.  

Still, that doesn't mean that the client calls all the shots. "You have to learn to say ‘no’ the right way," Valarie says. "Never saying ‘no’ is bad advice." 

If first impressions are everything in this world, Bolana has little to worry about. They've established a foundation of values, put them into consistent practice, and returned steady growth for their efforts. While the internet can make everything seem global, Bolana proves the value of connecting with the community around you. Because they treat their workers and prospective employees and clients with respect, they have been able to navigate the troubled waters of the last few years with a nimble approach and are positioned for new endeavors over the coming years.  

Jackson Silvanik is the Managing Editor for Contracting Profits, and lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. He joined Trade Press Media in 2021 and also edits and writes for Facility Cleaning Decisions, Sanitary Maintenance and 

previous page of this article:
How BSC's Can Build Trust in Cleaning Workers and Clients