When Training Custodians is Like Fishing
Our mission at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) is to advance human potential, and within Environmental Services, empower custodial team members per the axiom: "Hand a man or woman a fish, feed them for a day; teach them how to fish, feed them for a lifetime".
In that spirit, we are committed to raising the status of the workforce and value of the profession, and believe one of the keys is training and follow-up.
Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) Certification Courses led by Perry Shimanoff, President, Management and Communication Consultants (MC2), and our in-house training exemplify this approach.
While most custodial training focuses on logistics, operations, and general knowledge—What are the proper steps for cleaning? How do you clean a restroom?—what's most important is a focus on benefits to people; especially cleaning's impact on the customer.
Cleaning up after (and caring for) the 1500 students who live on campus in 10 residence halls, involves thinking like students. We encourage custodial staff to take a minute, look in the mirror and imagine themselves as first-year college students, or that their own child coming is coming here as a student. This mindset helps staff understand the importance of their jobs.
If staff understand who the customer is, and the impact on indoor and outdoor spaces, it ultimately makes their job easier, more fulfilling and productive.
We are working at integrating such training into our promotion or upward mobility system, so it becomes easier to determine who deserves a raise or promotion based on related growth and development.
Fruitage of this approach includes:
- Cleaner, healthier spaces
- Fewer customer complaints
- More efficiency with time and resources
- Happier workers.
In short, when we teach our staff to fish, they do a better job with greater pride, and we get bigger bang for our buck.
Professional tools make the job easier. For example Kaivac equipment.
Get detailed information about how Kaivac helps you clean better and faster:
Mary Denney is the Environmental Services Manager for Pacific Lutheran University located just outside of Tacoma, Washington. She manages a Team of 38 individuals who together maintain both Custodial and Waste Diversion operations for the PLU campus. She has been with PLU for a little over 12 years and manager of the Department for about 4.5 years. Prior to that, she was with a Commercial Cleaning company starting as a custodian and working up to a Lead position. Since becoming the Manager, she has become very involved in ISSA, IEHA and the Cleaning Management Institute. She has earned her Custodial Supervisor and Train the Trainer Certifications and is working on her goal to have her entire custodial Team become Certified Custodial Technicians through CMI.