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WAKING UP TO EMPLOYEE WELFARE


New Jangro CEO, Joanne Gilliard, discusses how improving welfare conditions and investing in training can reduce staff turnover and bring business benefits.


The services provided by cleaning operatives are essential to organisational success, as they are vital in maintaining healthy and hygienic spaces. However, cleaners are often held in low regard. Together with the hard – and often hazardous – work, low pay and seeming lack of prospects, there is frequently little long-term commitment to the industry.


Reducing staff turnover has clear business benefits: after all, recruitment takes up valuable time and money. As an industry, we need to help create and maintain an atmosphere of respect and appreciation for the work undertaken by cleaning operatives. We also have to change the perception of their job from one of being a series of mundane tasks to a critical part of any business.


TRAINING Training is important in any industry, but absolutely vital in the cleaning business. Not only will employees feel valued as you’re investing in them, but well-trained employees will also work efficiently, cost-effectively and to a high standard. It’s a win-win situation.


Our industry relies on migrant labour more heavily than other economic sectors, and workers across the business are also more likely to hold lower levels of qualifications. This means that training must be delivered in a form that is easy to understand, and that can bypass potential language barriers so that the operative can perform their duties safely without risking their own – or others’ – health.


There are many quality training schemes available – at Jangro we offer a free e-learning system, which is accessible to all of our customers and their employees. We recently introduced Task Cards to the programme, which are perfect for on-the-go learning. Short highly visual cleaning guides, they are ideal when English is not the first language, or as a refresher on how to perform


34 | EXPERT ADVICE


particular tasks correctly, e.g. how to clean a toilet.


REASSURANCE FOR


LONE WORKERS It’s not unusual for operatives to work alone as most cleaning is done outside normal working hours. The first step in protecting lone workers is to undertake a risk assessment to determine potential hazards. The second is to review working patterns – is it possible to avoid situations where staff work alone, e.g. by working across a facility as a team instead of being allocated to different floors of a building?


It is also worth considering the introduction of ‘daytime cleaning’ if clients are amenable. This prevents both physical and social isolation, and allows the rest of the workforce to understand more about cleaners’ roles and express their appreciation.


In cases where lone working cannot be avoided, a simple way to provide reassurance is to set up a buddy system, allowing lone workers to tell a colleague where they will be and agree to phone at a certain time. Alternatively, take advantage of today’s technology,


such as a dedicated speed dial on a mobile phone which links through to an alarm response centre, or a smartphone app that includes the ability to set up automatic welfare checks.


MONEY, MONEY, MONEY A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Cleaning operatives should be paid an hourly rate which reflects their hard work and the value they bring to the business. This should not translate into piece work, which is effectively paid at a lower overall rate. This was the case in the recent Channel 4 exposé, where cleaners at a hotel chain were reportedly required to complete a certain number of rooms no matter how long it took, but were only paid for their basic hours.


In all cases, transparent pay slips should be provided with clear pay calculations. Paying a fair wage, taking measures to ensure security, and providing reassurance and training is not only good for the individual, but it’s also good for business. The result? Better outcomes, greater loyalty, and higher staff retention.


www.jangro.net twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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