As with managerial roles in any industry, the janitorial services sector is filled with areas of concern for supervisors. Among these is the safety of staff and how to motivate crew members. Here we’ll explore how managers can tackle these two crucial issues to ensure a high degree of productivity and professionalism at their organizations.


Workplace Safety

A top priority for janitorial managers is keeping their crew members safe from the environmental hazards that surround them on a daily basis. Since the nature of their work often requires the use of harsh chemicals and physical labor, it’s critical that employees are doing everything possible to prevent bodily harm. Moreover, managers need to have systems in place that prevent problems associated with health and safety from occurring in the first place.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) lays out guidelines for how to protect the safety of janitorial and cleaning services workers in a comprehensive infosheet. In addition, the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) has implemented a five-part certification program known as the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS). This standard includes a thorough explanation of health, safety, and environmental stewardship requirements for companies that wish to obtain the certification. Some key takeaways for supervisors derived from both sources can be found below:

  • Develop and maintain a hazard communication program
  • Make a list of on-site chemicals available to workers
  • Properly label and store chemical containers
  • Train crew members on how to handle and dispose of hazardous substances
  • Have a plan for chemical spillage removal
  • Procure personal protective equipment for workers
  • For managers of medical facilities, ensure that employees are administered the proper vaccinations prior to beginning work
  • Properly document workplace injuries and list what actions have been taken to reduce future risks
  • Outfit cleaning equipment with the appropriate safeguards
  • Choose the safest possible cleaning agent for a given project (i.e. use “green” cleaners when possible, consider using sanitizers over disinfectants when applicable, etc.)
  • Become familiar with the first-aid measures required when workers become exposed to a harmful substance

Team Motivation

A second problem faced by janitorial managers is motivating their teams to perform at their fullest potential. The type of work cleaners do can be somewhat monotonous; what’s more, employees often feel undervalued for the work that they do, leading to a decrease in their quality and productivity outputs. Supervisors need to do everything in their power to keep employees’ engagement levels high if they want operations to continue running smoothly.

There are several steps managers can take to improve morale within their crews. One tactic is to utilize a software tool that fosters healthy competition amongst individuals and teams through social collaboration. Certain software includes a news feed (similar to Twitter or Facebook) that allows crew members to view and comment on each other’s’ work. Being able to see their peers’ progress motivates employees to go the extra mile.

Communication is also essential to keeping employees motivated. Managers should constantly emphasize why cleaning crews’ work is so vital to the health and safety of building occupants. They should also offer frequent feedback on jobs well done and provide actionable advice how employees can improve. It’s important to afford support when workers need it and listen to their requests. Employees may provoke their managers about wages, vacation time, among numerous other inquiries. Effective supervisors will take their crews’ concerns under consideration and discuss them with a higher authority when necessary. Having the support of their managers can mean the difference between an employee leaving or staying on with an organization, especially when s/he has many companies to choose from.

Janitorial management is no easy task, especially in an industry latent with potential hazards and a lack of dedication. By proactively implementing systems that uphold workplace safety and supplying crew members with ways to stay motivated, managers can rise above these challenges.

Vanessa (guest writer)

Victoria Vessella is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. With experience in working in public relations, she is dedicated to creating high-quality content that is relevant and helpful to readers.

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