Whether a hospital, elementary school or office building, most organizations have a communications system designed to share information with building occupants. This may be email, e-newsletters or printed company updates. In-house custodial operations should proactively use these tools to promote the work they do.

The savvy, self-promoting custodial executive submits a column or contributes something to these communication channels every month or even every week. Their contributions might mention new programs or equipment, and the results they are seeing.

Think outside the box when doing these updates. When the custodial staff does a special project — maybe they revitalized a floor by using new technologies — let others know. The communication could say: “Last weekend the custodial staff worked on the floors in this area and was able to revitalize them, rather than have them replaced. This is the technology we used to do this and here’s how much money we saved by cleaning, rather than replacing the floors.”

It’s also important to network with key leaders within the organization. For example, most facilities have someone in charge of leading environmental or sustainability programs. Custodial managers should know who these individuals are and approach them so they can be active participants in the development of company sustainability programs.

Custodial leaders can submit their ideas for new green technologies or sustainable methods to these leaders. For instance, they might suggest adding a new water-saving device to urinals or purchasing a cleaning device that uses water rather than chemicals. Sustainability leaders love these types of suggestions, but all too often janitors or custodians fail to share this information about them. However, if custodial managers can get sustainability leaders on their side, they have a natural ally within the organization.

Besides keeping sustainability leaders informed about the latest and greatest technologies and cleaning methods available, it’s also important to share the sustainable processes and equipment the janitorial operation already has in place. Ask yourself: Do people know what you do? Do people know you’re using this technology or that you have a green cleaning program? It’s important that cleaning operations tell this story.

Consider whether there are other groups beside sustainability committees that custodians can be a part of. If there are plans to renovate the facility, participate in the planning to help spec water- or energy-saving technologies or sustainable flooring that will stand the test of time.

Once new sustainable technologies are in the facility, custodial executives need to remember to let others know it was their idea to add them.

Let’s say the custodial staff was integral in adding water- saving devices to urinals. Why not put an information card next to the urinals that tells how much water is saved with this improvement, and attribute the information to the custodial staff? If the custodians were actively involved in the recycling program, put a blurb about how much waste has been diverted from landfills because of this program on every recycling container and attribute the message to the custodial staff.

Another area not lauded often enough is staff training. Custodial managers typically provider workers with consistent training that is well documented, and often far beyond the training received by another other position within the facility. Unfortunately beyond using this documentation for certification purposes, this information is never shared. Custodial executives should tout the training workers receive, how often they receive it, and how this training impacts the entire facility.

“A well laid out and organized custodial program done by a well-trained staff offers management a lot of pluses,” says Maurice Dixon, owner of Dixon and Associates, which offers training and consulting services to the janitorial profession. “These pluses convey a very positive image to employees, visitors and customers, and I believe add a plus to the bottom line.”

Dixon goes on to list areas that custodial executives should do a better job of sharing:
1) Cleaner, Healthier and Safer Buildings,
2) Protection of Property,
3) Reduction of Risk,
4) Positive Image, and
5) Pride in Results.

“All of these, without question add to a company’s bottom line,” Dixon says. “Good quality cleaning doesn't cost — it pays.”

What also pays is a good plan on how custodial operations plan to promote what they do. Now is the time to wave your benefits flag.

RON SEGURA is the president of Segura & Associates, a consulting firm that provides services to all segments of the cleaning industry.

previous page of this article:
Marketing Your Cleaning Program