Day in and day out, custodians make building occupants’ lives easier and safer. They do this all while performing risky and labor-intensive jobs. They’re required to complete tasks that expose them to potentially dangerous chemicals and physical injuries such as muscle strain. But they also manage the things we often take for granted, like full soap dispensers, stocked toilet paper and clean floors.
Custodians are the unsung heroes in schools, office buildings and many other commercial facilities. They show up to work each day and keep environments clean and building occupants safe and healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic shined an even brighter spotlight on just how important these essential workers are.
October 2 is National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, and now more than ever, custodians are incredibly deserving of recognition. As the pandemic continues to present challenges, it’s important to remember that custodians should be shown appreciation not just on National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, but every day.
Showcasing your Support
Custodians continue to go above and beyond to protect the health and well-being of building occupants. Consider the following strategies for showing your appreciation for your custodians every day.
Provide opportunities for training.
Training is the backbone of successful cleaning programs. Whether you’re a building service contractor (BSC) or have an in-house team, providing training opportunities is a way to demonstrate your investment in your people. It supports employee health and enhances performance. Provide hands-on training with the products and technologies cleaning professionals will use to reduce safety risks and ensure consistent cleaning performance.
Invest in quality tools and equipment.
Employees will feel valued if they’re equipped with high-quality tools and equipment that helps them perform their jobs better. If equipment is outdated or poorly maintained, workers may feel that their role is not a priority, and this could impact cleaning results. Take a close look at your inventory and determine where improvements and investments can be made so that employees have all the essentials for efficient and effective cleaning.
Use safe and sustainable cleaning chemicals.
With custodians cleaning more frequently than ever, opting for cleaning chemicals without potentially toxic ingredients or fragrances may help reduce the risk of conditions like asthma, allergies, eye irritation and skin rashes. Install an on-site generation (OSG) system that creates safer solutions with water, salt and electricity, otherwise known as electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS). The cleaners and disinfectants are compatible, which avoids the possibility of employees mixing unsafe chemicals, and do not contain any fragrances, caustic preservatives or additives.
Offer leadership development and employee benefits.
Most employees want to know their employer cares about them and that their job has the potential to be a rewarding career. Providing educational courses that promote leadership development shows your employees you want to see them grow professionally within the organization. Many custodians are risking their lives each day without decent pay or benefits. Consider offering benefits such as healthcare and 401(k) options separately from leadership courses to attract and retain talent.
Leverage small gestures for a big impact.
Sometimes, the smallest gesture can go a long way. Consider giving your custodians a handwritten thank you note that highlights your favorite characteristics that they have and include a small gift card. Have managers monitor employees as they clean and continually provide positive feedback on their performance to build their confidence. You can also throw a small celebration featuring free food, team building activities and even awards to honor their hard work. Whether it’s a party or a physical gift, your custodian will feel appreciated that their employer considers their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Thank a Custodian Today
As custodians keep facilities in top shape, take time out of your day to show them you notice their hard work, whether it’s on Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day or any other day. While they’ve always been critical players in keeping facilities clean and safe, they’ve continued to transcend their responsibilities and go beyond their job descriptions during the pandemic. Showing appreciation in small ways, as well as implementing long-term positive changes can help cleaning professionals feel supported and minimize turnover.