Labor shortage strategies; green cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, May/June 2007

Dear Rose,
Department managers at our hotel are asked to work on labor shortage strategies and/or solutions to solve the current problems being faced. Housekeeping is my area of responsibility and hiring of room cleaning attendants, which are hard to come by. What, if any, ideas or suggestions can you share in this area?
Short Staff Manager

Aloha SSM,
Along with many housekeeping managers, you are faced with the same dilemma, more so on the neighbor islands. There has been an increase, frequency and demand, in the job want ads for hotel, residential or commercial cleaners. The demand, I feel, is due to career changes that have taken place, as many at the frontline level have switched from the hospitality to the health care industry. Work schedules, wages and benefits and training have been reasons for the changes mentioned. The following is a suggested list of strategies to consider toward possible solutions.

1) Perform a current job analysis of the daily room cleaning tasks to determine possible changes in processes, frequencies, work tools and equipment without impacting standards. Consider work sampling and work simplification studies for work improvement to decrease time and motion and enhance productivity. Example: Is your in-room amenity presentation program a time-consuming process that is impacting productivity?

2) If zone cleaning is the system in use today, consider the possibility of team cleaning systems to enhance productivity and reduce staff.

3) Consider applications of new technologies, such as microfiber cleaning, backpack vacuuming and vapor/steam cleaning, to improve on productivity.

4) Review current scheduling practices. Consider staggered day work shifts and short shifts to impact heavy checkout days and times.

5) Contact the Department of Education to target high school students as after school and weekend employees. Consider a career/work placement program for both special education and regular students, providing information and training on the advantages and future upward mobility of working in a hotel.

6) Consider a diversified short shift schedule program targeting stay-at-home moms, dads and senior citizens. Plan and provide pre-employment training on guest room cleaning processes.

7) Contact Goodwill agencies, homeless and local churches’ youth programs for potential hires. Contact local vocational schools and community colleges.

As a management practice, periodically review current programs, processes and systems of your housekeeping operations. The goal should always be toward the optimum in motivation and results oriented cleaning.

Hi Rose,
The topic of green cleaning is being discussed for our property. Would you please provide information on best ways to begin such a program for our condo/ hotel housekeeping operation?
Working to be in the Know

Green gleaning is taking hold in many facilities today. The difficult step of moving into a green cleaning program is to actually decide to do such a program. It is a positive step to improve the quality of the indoor environment of your property. Many companies have embraced the concepts associated with green cleaning and many have seen improvements in worker productivity and guest satisfaction simply by implementing cleaning programs focused on cleaning for health. Purchasing analysis has shown that yearly janitorial supply costs actually decrease months after instituting a proper green cleaning and maintenance program. Steps to consider when moving into a “green cleaning” program are:

1) Managers must first understand the principles and standards of a green system.

2) Managers must know that such a system will offer high demand and value added services to end customers.

3) A program that is manageable and measurable must be developed.

4) Create a system that will help to minimize risks related to indoor air quality issues.

5) Develop responsible solutions for a safe, healthy and results-oriented program.

6) Choose highly effective and responsible cleaning products (chemicals, tools, equipment; one example is microfiber).

7) Develop responsible cleaning processes and practices.

8) Develop a training program for all employees and train cleaning personnel properly.

9) Team with a responsible vendor or janitorial supply partner.

Incorporating a green cleaning mission will become a positive and powerful marketing tool for any company that will understand the demand for a healthier and safer environment.

Posted in Clean Talk Columns.

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