On the night of January 8th, two Wilburn Company employees were performing their usual cleaning jobs when they noticed that a tenant was standing outside in the cold with her two small children.
Realizing that it was late and that the building was closed, the two employees went out to check on her. As it turned out, her car had been broken into. The windows were smashed and there was glass everywhere. The tenant had nowhere to turn, and to make matters worse, when she’d gone outside to check on the situation, she’d inadvertently gotten locked out of the building.
The two Wilburn Company employees set to work to help her.
They secured her car, cleaned up the broken glass, and removed the car seat for the tenant’s youngest child. They brought the tenant and her children out of the cold and into the building. Then, they sat with her until help arrived to ensure her comfort and safety.
In a difficult situation, these small acts of kindness mattered a great deal to the tenant.
Why tell this story? Well, we’re proud of our employees, for one thing. We’re honored to employ people who help others.
And we also believe this story represents an important truth: our employees are our most important assets.
We’ve found that success as a cleaning provider comes from empowering our people. Our hope is that, by focusing on our employees, we empower them to serve others with excellence.
Here’s what being employee-focused means.
One of the most important and practical ways to empower employees is through training. Good training equips people with the skills and knowledge they need to serve well. It allows employees to grow, too.
At The Wilburn Company, we ensure that our employees access comprehensive training programs. These include foundational training in commercial cleaning and 24 annual hours of GS-42 trainings to gain green cleaning expertise.
Additionally, our management personnel participate in additional Building Wellness trainings to ensure our services are designed and delivered with health in mind.
2. Incorporating Employee Feedback
While employee trainingis an important way for the organization to pass valuable information to employees, it’s also important for employees to input valuable information back to leadership.
That’s why we encourage and incorporate employee feedback.
There are many benefits to this. For one thing, it empowers employees. When an organization solicits internal feedback, it’s a sign to employees that they’re heard and valued. Plus, feedback can drive innovation and ultimately make processes more efficient. After all, employees are the ones carrying out the work, which allows them to offer real, actionable input from their on-the-ground jobs.
We’ve recently begun a regular feedback solicitation program which solicits suggestions and incorporates the best one into our programs each month. It’s a tangible way for our employees to be heard and add value.
3. Internal Communication
A strong culture of communication is another way to ensure a focus on employees. In fact, the way this is handled is a foundational part of company culture.
We’ve always worked to make internal communication accessible. That’s why our management and leadership personnel are easily available to contact. To push further into this, though, we’ve begun distributing an internal newsletter that highlights company events, upcoming initiatives, and employee success.
Our belief is that the companies that value their employees communicate with them. While there are countless avenues through which to do this, the most important thing is that good communication happens.
4. Material Investment
We also believe that valuing employees means investing in them, even when that’s carried out in seemingly simple terms – like via the roll-out of new uniforms.
This year, we’re actually revamping what The Wilburn Company uniforms look like in order to better represent our people. Our teams will be decked out in sharp black polo shirts, teal smocks, and pants, with uniform fits for both women and men and embroidering that displays The Wilburn Company logo. Different functional teams will have different color designs, too.
There’s a psychological aspect to wearing a fresh uniform. Our hope is that these represent value. Again, simple material investments can be important.
5. The Language We Use
Finally, an employee focus shines through in the language a cleaning company uses to describe its people.
This is why we refer to our cleaning employees as environmental hygienists, not janitors. We’ve written about the meaning behind this term in more detail here, but the purpose for using this language is that we want to properly promote the value of our employees.
Our people deserve to be valued. The work they do does, too. The cleaning services they provide keep buildings and people healthy – and that’s a hugely important responsibility.
That’s why we’re intentional in using language that represents our people well.
Want to Learn More About How an Employee Focus Impacts Cleaning?
The reality is that cleaning companies are built on their people. The companies that are employee-focused will always win the day, because they’ll be the companies that are empowering their employees to serve well.
The proof is in the little moments – the nights when employees clean up broken glass and keep people safe and comfortable. When employees are empowered, we all win.
Want to learn more about what being employee-focused means at The Wilburn Company, and how it might impact your cleaning services?
Or, want to learn more about what it’s like to work for a cleaning company that cares about its people?