I recently had the pleasure of working with two readers who manage the custodial department within an educational facility. Their school board is currently in negotiations with contractors and seriously considering outsourcing the districts janitorial needs.

These readers contacted me with a plea for information. They were looking for any ammunition they could get to approach management and persuade them to keep jobs in-house, and of course, I was happy to help.

When faced with this challenge, it is important to collect as much information as possible, which means first evaluating your facility. Know the nuts and bolts of what it takes to reach your cleaning objectives. With these goals in mind, evaluate your costs as well as the work necessary to get the job done. Use benchmarking tools to establish best practices within your facility and look to other end-users, or industry advisors, for suggestions on better practices.

Once suitable background information is obtained, managers should sit down and compile the data in a way that is easily understood, keeping in mind who the audience is. Depending on the type of information you want to communicate, your approach may be as important as the data itself. When tracking data over time, it may be helpful to show progress in a graph, which can be easily understood at a quick glance. To provide a glimpse at where costs and performance are needed, it may be best to use a dashboard. Determining the right approach depends on your facility and the type of data you are communicating. Never-the-less, be prepared to answer every question thrown at you. Approaching management with anything less will get you nowhere.

I have to commend those two individuals for taking all the right steps in an effort to achieve their goals. First, they realized that they had a problem that needed to be addressed. They then asked for help, which we all know isn’t easy. And finally, they are arming themselves with the facts they need to approach management and fight for their cause.

When I was initially approached by these two readers, I immediately recalled some great advice I had received shortly after joining Housekeeping Solutions: Know the facts before approaching your superiors and more than anything else... be prepared.