For many years cleaning operatives have all too often been undervalued by the people they clean for and the wider public. The idea that cleaning is a profession is dismissed by many despite the extensive training required to meet standards, and health and safety requirements.
We’ve always tried to do what we can to change that perception and get people to recognise the important work that professional operatives do. This includes supporting the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘See the true value’ campaign in support of cleaners’ rights a couple of years ago (https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/cleaners-rights).
Changing perceptions is always a slow process, but it is by no means a lost cause. We get plenty of praise for our operatives from clients who know what a great job they are doing in keeping workplaces clean and hygienic.
We’ve run the Facilicom Awards as a formal way to recognise that feedback (and that of colleagues) and reward those operatives who are raising the profile and standards of cleaning. We have a similar accolade – The Trevor Gane Outstanding Achievement Award – for our security colleagues at Trigion.
I’m delighted that the first winner was recently announced. Cathy Spence – a housekeeper for one of our Edinburgh-based customers – was highly commended for her high standards in extremely trying conditions during the adverse weather earlier in the year.
Being recognised in this way should act as an inspiration to all Cathy’s colleagues showing that their hard work and dedication isn’t going unnoticed and is appreciated by us all. I try to get to see as many colleagues while they’re working to thank them, but the awards are a way to show appreciation on a bigger stage.
We hope there will be plenty more clients making nominations in the coming months and years and look forward to celebrating more successes like Cathy’s. It’s just one step on the way to a wider acceptance of the important role cleaning operatives play in working life, but we think it’s an important step.
Jan Hein Hemke,
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland