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Achieve better quality through better communication

05 October 2018

Regina Henrich, european manager for ISSA, looks at why communication is key to maintaining high quality standards

We work in an industry where our products and services are crucial in maintaining the health and wellbeing of the broader community. We work hard in conveying the right hygiene message in the right way, and in the right channel. However, sometimes in our own industry we don’t ensure in our own communications that this is the outcome. Helping our own members to healthier businesses and increasing their working ‘wellbeing’ should always be something we aspire to in our own community. 

Whether you are a cleaning service provider, specialist wholesaler, or manufacturer, our cleaning industry often requires a close cooperation between staff, and even different companies. Better communication not only helps us achieve better service quality, it also improves efficiency and occupational safety. 

Bridging the language barriers

Language barriers at work often cause communication issues when assigning job tasks and implementing safety precautions. To avoid common misunderstanding that lead to avoidable work errors, many suppliers already use multilingual labels and pictograms on their cleaning products and equipment. Service providers can also offer training materials and documents in different languages, or translation devices, to make sure their staff are clear about the instructions and carry out their tasks in the most efficient manner.

Teaming up your workforce is another way to eliminate language barriers and foster better communications and a sense of work community that will deliver efficiencies in the future. Companies can arrange for their employees to work closely in pairs. The one who is fluent in the local language will undoubtedly prove a great help and is on hand to answer any enquiries the other might have to ensure a smoother operation.

Visual aids can be very helpful in reminding staff members about work procedures and safety measurements. Graphics, warning signs and colour coding for cleaning products are particularly important if there are concentrated chemicals involved and a particular risk to health and safety.

Increasing your cultural awareness

With an increasingly globalised workforce, it is very common for staff to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. Although the English language is widely-used in the workplace, cultural practices still play an important role in daily communications. Also let’s not forget that communication barriers can still exist even in the same language. For example, some cultures – and national regions for that matter – prefer to be very direct in their communication, however; others might not be used to this which can lead to misinterpretations among colleagues or even customers.

Mutual understanding can be achieved through improved communications. Employees can work more effectively and efficiently, which in turn, creates a better operation line and achieves high-quality services.

We should not underestimate the impact of communication in workplace efficiency and customer satisfaction. Employees should remain open-minded and considerate when interacting with colleagues and customers. Companies can provide guidelines and advice to their staff. Organising workshops and out-of-office activities can also promote cultural awareness within the team, which in turn improves communication and the quality of your services.

Building a communication network

Apart from strengthening internal communication, we can always work on the collaboration and exchange of information within the industry. ISSA’s Mainz (Germany) branch has been serving its members in the EMEA region since 2015. By providing tailor-made training and workshops, our very own Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) supports the cleaning providers and manufacturers in improving their internal communication and building up networks. Interactive training and exams are also available in different languages for its members in various markets.

ISSA also offers local assistance and personalised advice in North and South America, Australia, and Asia. Are you a European company with international focus? Or is your company based in a foreign country? Our ISSA team in Mainz are here for your multilingual challenges or any communication questions. Contact us by e-mail: emeaservice@issa.com or by phone at +49 (0) 6131 6367820.