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Don’t let staff ambitions bite the dust

12 June 2014

There’s no denying that the cleaning industry has work to do when it comes to presenting itself as a desirable career.

Beliefs that workers are undervalued and underpaid and work unsociable hours with little job satisfaction are just some of the misconceived preconceptions that it has been saddled with. The reality, however, can be a lot more heartening, with people of different skill sets and diverse backgrounds successfully carving out a rewarding career.

I recently spoke with the cleaning manager of a popular tourist attraction whose capable and enthusiastic team of cleaning operatives came from all walks of life – even a former designer. In his role as a cleaning operative, the former designer was able to utilise his talents to help architects design a ‘Changing Places’ toilet facility at the venue for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities that cannot use standard accessible toilets. This achievement not only created a real sense of pride among the individual but the team as well.

As this example demonstrates, there is much to be gained from a career in cleaning if a business is willing to invest in its staff and to help them realise their potential, which in turn benefits the employer as well as the employee.

Inspiring leadership plays a key role in improving job satisfaction and staff motivation in any profession, while entering awards is a great way of recognising the brilliant efforts of teams and individuals. 

Educational programmes also have an important part to play in creating a stimulating environment of continuous learning. Achieving a certifiable level of training can also make cleaning a more attractive and prestigious field to work in, by placing a higher value on the skills required and boosting the prospects for career development.
As ISSA’s Keith Baker writes in our new annual supplement ‘The Essential Guide to Cleaning & Hygiene’: "The educational requirement for our industry has never been more critical and training of staff will become of even more paramount importance in retaining good cleaning operatives and elevating their own sense of worthiness, professionalism and pride.”

Inside the supplement (available with the April/May issue or on request), you’ll find advice from the industry’s leading organisations on education and training, and information on the growing number of initiatives that are available – including the launch of the cleaning industry’s first apprenticeship scheme from the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC).