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26 Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WALDEN’S CONVENTION DAILY ISSA/INTERCLEAN® 2012 Creating a Culture of Sustainability from the Bottom Up

Most managers would suggest that making real changes in the way a facility is operated requires top-down manage- ment. This means the highest-level ex- ecutives of a company look at how their business operates and conclude that cer- tain procedures, policies, or goals should be implemented throughout the company. They then direct managers and supervi- sors to institute the new policies. This is a common approach, and I

have advocated it myself when it comes to Green Cleaning. In most cases, for a Green Cleaning system to be effectively incorporated into a facility, it must be deemed necessary and supported by top management. However, there is another type of man- agement strategy called “bottom-up.” With this strategy, a company empowers its workers to take charge of how a busi- ness operates. Top management still may set goals or a direction for the company, but it is developed, implemented, and op- erated starting from the bottom. No matter which approach is used, the ultimate goal is to create a business cul- ture for the organization. And we see this happening more and more when it comes to sustainability. For any organization to develop a truly effective sustainability program, it must create a “culture of sus- tainability.” One example of how this has been suc- cessfully implemented is

at Cobleskill

Regional Hospital, a small rural hospi- tal in upstate New York. Cobleskill con- ducts monthly leadership meetings with top managers in every department: nurs- ing, foodservice, housekeeping, etc. At the meetings, workers are updated on the progress of the hospital’s sustainability program.

But these meetings are not to just in-

form employees of the hospital’s prog- ress on becoming more sustainable. They are—and this is key—designed to encour-

age staffers to become the “leaders,” implementing the facility’s sustain- ability program and finding new ways for the hospital to become more sus- tainable. In essence, they have a bottom- up manage- ment program - at least when it comes to sus- tainablity - in place.

There are

several rea- sons why this bottom-up approach can prove successful. First, the employees are typically far more aware than top management of sustainability oppor- tunities in their departments. After all, they likely know their departments and how they operate better than any- one at the executive level. And there are many activities where an engaged employee can really make the differ- ence such as: •

Turning off lights and turn-

ing off monitors, computers and print- ers when leaving the office in the eve- ning or over weekends •

Effectively managing waste/

recycling or making the decision if a document needs to be printed in the first place and if so •

Returning office supplies

such as used file folders to the supply cabinet rather than recycling them •

If involved in purchasing, selecting those supplies that are re- cycled or recyclable or made from re- newable materials. With their firsthand knowledge of their job requirements and how the facility operates on a day-to-day ba- sis, they can brainstorm and come up

Stephen Ashkin

with their own ideas and procedures that help promote sustainability. The employ- ees are now empowered, and a culture of sustainability—where everyone is actively involved in making the facility more sus- tainable—has evolved. Some observers might conclude that

what is really happening in a bottom-up management strategy is that employees have “bought into” a sustainability policy. However, this is far more than a “buy-in.” Instead, the staff has taken the initiative and in many ways designed and imple- mented the sustainability program. No matter which management strategy is employed, facilities need to find a way to measure such things as energy and fuel use, water consumption, and purchased items such as office supplies and cleaning products in order to first create a sustain- ability benchmark and then monitor suc- cess. Historically, this was done through the use of traditional spreadsheets, but today new Web-based dashboard systems are being used for tracking, reporting, and more importantly, to drive improvements


by providing feedback to the employees on their progress and efforts to meet overall organizational goals. Dashboard technology has evolved considerably in recent years, and some systems are surprisingly easy to use, in- expensive, and easy to understand—with information often presented graphically. which makes it easy for all employees to see progress and recognize that even the smallest actions matter. Using a dashboard system and creating a culture of sustain- ability often pays off big not only for the environment but for the business itself. In most cases, a sustainable facility is oper- ated more efficiently, and we are finding this means operating costs are reduced… something that is valuable to every organi- zation especially in this economy. Stephen Ashkin is known as the “father of Green Cleaning.” However he is also CEO of The Sustainability Dashboard, an advance reporting system designed for ev- eryone who is involved in sustainability programs. It is specifically designed to be easy to use, reduce environmental impacts and save money. He may be reached thru the company Web site at www.green2sus- n

Keeping Floor Care

sive and labor-intensive cleaning task in the professional cleaning industry--es- pecially when administrators insist on a high-gloss shine. Yet there are ways that cleaning professionals can help keep these costs in check. Selecting the best types of floor care tools and equipment to tackle the job will address some of these issues. The more efficient and productive the equipment is, the faster the job can be completed, reduc-

Maintenance Costs Down ing costs and often resulting in more satis- factory cleaning outcomes. This month’s Powr-Flite Floor Care

Floor care is arguably the most expen-

Troubleshooter focuses on getting the right floor care equipment to meet your specific floor care challenges. Some fac- tors to consider include:

· the size and amount of debris that ac- cumulates on floors

· the type of debris (oil, dust, liquids, etc.)

· the type of floor surface (stone, VCT, concrete, wood, etc.)

· the amount of foot traffic and the type of foot traffic impacting the floor (Are carts or equipment rolled on the floor? What type of footwear is most commonly worn?)

· the “value” of the floor “This last item is very important because it will impact how much time and attention the customer wants paid to the floor,” says Mike Englund, a Floor Cleaning Trainer and Product Manager for Powr-Flite. “A lobby floor is a ‘first impression’ floor and a good example of a valuable floor requir- ing more time and attention.” Whenever feasible, Englund recom- mends using automatic scrubbers when maintaining floors because they can im- prove worker productivity significantly. Taking this a step further, Englund sug- gests using scrubbers that have a wide scrub path. “The larger the scrubber is, the more it will increase worker productivity,” he says. “Because of this, the return on investment can be surprisingly fast, many times in just a matter of months.” The Powr-Flite Troubleshooter address- es some of the most common floor care problems cleaning professionals encoun- ter … and, most importantly, how to tackle them. n

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