Ada BaldwinAda Baldwin
Director for University Housekeeping
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina


Babette BeeneBabette Beene
Environmental Services Manager
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas


Michael JonesMichael Jones
Director of Custodial Services
Columbia Public Schools
Columbia, Missouri


Karie KingKarie King
Manager Environmental Services
Aurora BayCare Medical Center
Green Bay, Wisconsin


Gene WoodardGene Woodard
Director of Building Services
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington


With unemployment at an all-time low and fewer people looking for work, finding and hiring adequate employees is a challenge. What recommendations do you have for those struggling with recruitment?

Beene — We let them know our benefits upfront. We have a successful mentorship program that our employees can get involved in. They work with leadership in the area of their choosing and determine a path that allows them to grow. This gives them the opportunity for advancement. They're able to stay at one hospital but have the opportunity to move to different departments.

Jones — Our turnover is higher than 15 percent, but we haven't really had issues finding replacements — even though they may not be dedicated to custodial being a permanent profession. We have adjusted our hiring practice to include an initial telephone screen prior to any interview and it's become common practice to now have myself and two other supervisors present for interviews. We do advertise but most of our new hires come through referrals.

King — Recruitment is a struggle everywhere. All you can do is continue to post your jobs. We use our website, as well as social media. Posting open positions on a variety of sites helps, but it's also important to keep the postings updated, so people don't see them as generic. We sponsor a walk-in Wednesday for anyone to come in and apply to a job and be interviewed while they are here. We also attend job fairs where we hand out information on our company and the openings we have. We'll even provide an on-the-spot interview as well.

Woodard — I suggest having job fairs periodically and target agencies and neighborhoods where your current employees work. At the job fairs, you can highlight all the benefits from working at your facility. Our best recruiters are our employees, and we let them know about every opening in the department so they can recommend them to friends and/or family.

Less than half of managers believe their departments are adequately staffed to complete necessary cleaning tasks. What recommendations do you have for these managers?

Beene — Cross training staff gives you the flexibility to move staff around. Shadow your staff to see if their workflow can be improved. If we need additional staff, we need to show justification by completing an analysis of the cleaning frequency in a particular area, which would determine if you're able to increase staffing.

Jones — We actually reduced staff about six years ago because we felt we were overstaffed. We had brought in a new cleaning program, improved equipment, new technology and therefore improved productivity. Each year you have to re-look at each building or operation and re-evaluate. Communicating with administration and giving back FTEs when they're not needed has provided me with credibility when making a recommendation.

King — We all face this issue. We are working with our system to have an FTE Review, which shows the needs of the building. Every time there is construction or a change made to areas, reviews like this illustrate whether more FTE's are required. Managers should keep records that document the workload. For example, every month hospitals should calculate the amount of discharges so managers can document an increase. This provides the information executives need in a way that is easy to review.

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