A WORLD CUP OF NATIONS Environment Media Group, organiser of the European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards, looks at the

diverse nature of the cleaning sector and why it’s worth celebrating whether your team lifted the famous trophy or not.

Whether you’re a football fan or not, you would need to be some sort of hermit not to have noticed World Cup 2018 taking place over the past few weeks. This is especially the case in the cleaning sector as there won’t be many industries with employees supporting such a variety of different nations.

When Russia and Saudi Arabia kicked off the tournament on 14 June there were 32 countries competing in the tournament, but that is nothing compared to the number of nations working in the European cleaning industry. With the sector employing millions of people, it’s not unusual to find workers from more than 32 countries working within a single company.

In an industry reliant on people, this wide supply of potential workers has been a tremendous benefit, but that could be about to change. While the primary focus in the UK might be what happens to the workforce post-Brexit, across Europe the industry faces the impact of worldwide demographic change that will result in a lower working population. This makes it more important than ever that businesses give proper attention to their workforce.

Labour is already the highest cost for any company offering cleaning services, but they now face potentially significant challenges in attracting and retaining new talent. Despite

the common perception of being a low-skilled, low-paid profession, the cleaning sector is an industry of opportunity for people looking to improve their situation and employers need to make sure this continues despite any challenges.

DIFFERENT DIVERSITY Of course, diversity is not just about the country you come from. Employers also have an opportunity to focus their recruitment practices on attracting people from different backgrounds, and with different abilities, if they don’t already. Gender, ethnicity or disability shouldn’t be a barrier to working in the cleaning industry.

It is equally, if not more, important that companies are able to retain their employees, or they face wasted time and money in going through the recruitment process all over again. Retention initiatives – including training and development – aren’t necessarily cheap, but if done properly they are worthwhile investments as they pay for themselves in terms of productivity and motivation.

A wide and diverse workforce doesn’t just mean companies can meet their basic requirements in providing cleaning services. Diversity also brings dynamism and innovation in its wake and provides opportunities for companies to grow and develop successful long-term business partnerships.

REWARDING DIVERSITY The ‘Workforce – Commitment to Diversity’ prize at the European Cleaning and Hygiene Awards celebrates those who are committed to diversity and ensuring the best working environment for their employees.

Entrants need to illustrate their key policies in attracting diverse new recruits to the sector, equipping them with the skills they need, encouraging continuous development, empowerment and career progression. Judges will also be looking for evidence of diversity and inclusion policies, rewards and recognition programmes, retention rates and regular, meaningful communication with employees.

You may not see your team lift the World Cup this summer, but you could still be collecting a trophy in Berlin in November if you can show your commitment to diversity.

For more details of the Commitment to Diversity award and all the other categories, and to submit an entry, visit the European Cleaning and Hygiene Awards website:


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