Ideal cleaning practices starts with a change in mindset, says Grako CEO
Grako developed a three-month induction program for new hires which transitions them from theory to practice in a gradual manner that starts at a slow pace to ensure that they understand the “Safety First” company culture and also shadowing their fellow cleaners on different types of cleaning tasks
You know when a company that specialises in cleaning hard-to-reach surfaces of any property, is absolutely serious in the cleaning business. High-access cleaning specialist Grako’s founder and CEO Alain El Tawil says that every individual in the service provider’s organisation, right from the bottom to the top, should have the right mindset when it comes to cleaning a facility.
El Tawil says: “For many of us, our hygiene and cleaning ideologies were shaped in our early childhood years influenced by our family members, the cultural do’s and don’ts, and the way such teachings are integrated in schools and government entities. I clearly remember in the late 80s Dubai Municipality started collecting fines from people for littering in public areas or on the roads while driving. People had to think twice before throwing that cigarette butt or empty food package out onto the street.
“Once that [anti-littering] decree was set. The penalty was so hefty that no one could afford dismissing the government’s priority of keeping the city clean.” El Tawil recalled that the fine was followed by a big anti-littering campaign that was marketed on packaged products, public bins, TV advertisements, and schools for many years later.
Today, he says that because of such a law, Dubai is one of the cleanest cities in the world, with majority of residents aware of public cleanliness and environmental effects, and are actively practicing in its up keep.
He adds: “Similarly, the biggest challenge facing all cleaning companies or individuals hiring cleaners from Asia or Africa is that the cleaners come from different cultures or cities with no specific emphasis on cleaning ideologies. Such individuals might have a vague perception of what is clean and they may be light years away from ISO and BISCs guidelines that we all seek to achieve.
“In my opinion, ideal cleaning practices should start by re-setting the mindset of all cleaners and supervisors that a company hires and explain to them why cleaning is important, what is the definition of cleaning and what are the micro and macro consequences of not cleaning public areas. It is time to switch the training approach from ‘how’ to ‘what’ and ‘why’ queries for cleaning practices to become a solidified belief system.”
Grako developed a three-month induction program for new hires which transitions them from theory to practice in a gradual manner that starts at a slow pace to ensure that they understand the “Safety First” company culture and also shadowing their fellow cleaners on different types of cleaning tasks. Such a process starts by hand-picking individuals during the recruitment phase who successfully demonstrate their ability “to learn new activities rapidly, work in a team formation and most importantly, have high levels of focus and attention which is necessary when working at heights”.
Sourcing motivated manpower on long-term basis, cost of hiring and training as well as monitoring daily performance of each individual are the typical challenges that are facing the FM sector, according to El Tawil.
He says: “At Grako, we find solution in retaining our employees through a motivational pay scheme for each additional year they serve. We keep on growing gradually every year. We keeping estimating our manpower and carry out a three month training program for new hires on a quarterly basis.”
Use of tech
“Traditionally, marketeers pioneered the art of changing mindsets and establishing new mental and emotional associations with products and services. As technology evolved, the methods of changing and reaching mindsets have evolved too,” El Tawil says.
He says that with powerful visual material and specific messaging displayed over and over on digital devices around the workplace and camp sites, talks can penetrate the subconscious of cleaners and supervisors, in addition to the traditional practices of giving out plain instructions and/or warnings. Additionally, he says: “By encouraging all employees to engage with the company’s social media platform, companies could start reaching the employees on multiple levels even outside work hours through established technological trends that has already infiltrated our lives with an aim of building a long lasting connection with individuals who represent your company and creating a long-term company culture.
“The cleaning industry worldwide was a late adopter of technological advancements and the digital realm; thus, we are now seeing a lot of trends related to AI technologies to establish predictive maintenance services.
“In addition, with more means of capturing live intelligence such as tissue paper usage or footfall predictions, the trend is now to catch up and upgrade assets to take advantage from such intel.
“Lastly, with some companies ahead of the game of capturing live intelligence, the focus now is on creating value-added services or initiatives to enhance the end-user’s experience.”