An article by Ross Mitchell, ‘Stop exploiting and help change the culture of the cleaning industry’ in the November/December INCLEAN magazine, received so much industry feedback that he felt it warranted a personal response…
After having received several calls regarding the content and context of my article, upon retracing it for the umpteenth time, I can see how my intentions would be misconstrued by many people reading it. In hindsight I probably should have written it differently.
Let me start by restating the industry that is cleaning is one that I love working in and believe that it has much to offer. It offers fantastic career opportunities; it cares for the people who work in it and the clients for whom we have all done work, either previously or now.
I have never intended to upset anyone by writing what, at times have been controversial and heartfelt pieces. I am passionate in my approach to everything I do and my passion for our industry is no different.
I genuinely believe that change is required by everyone involved and do not shy away from that. What may have been misinterpreted is the belief that I think all contractors act dishonourably. That is certainly not my view. There is a minority that act that way, while the vast majority act with integrity, ethics and strong principles.
I feel pretty sure that many people would like to see those ethics and principles shared by all so that the lack of respect from some of our clients could be brought around to one where mutual respect and trust was universal.
In the midst of providing a solution to what I see as a problem, what was lost in my previous article was the advances that have been made over a long period of time by the industry and my respect for the industry’s ingenuity and capacity to create something from nothing.
The types of advancements that have been made are numerous. I’ll give you some of my highlights…
I was proud to have attended the BSCAA Victorian Division awards recently in Melbourne where the industry got the chance to celebrate another solid year of business in a tough economic climate and acknowledge the efforts of a number of our industry professionals for their excellent contributions.
We even had the chance to hear from the winner of the Young Manager of the Year, a young woman of 22 years, Cherene Maxwell, who has been working in the industry for four years. With Collings Property Services in Tasmania. Maxwell is the future of the industry.
In the late 90s to mid 2000 Kimberly Clark ran the Golden Service Awards. As a contractor at Biniris in the first years I was glad and proud to participate and win some awards and was equally honoured to judge on three occasions, giving me the chance of seeing first hand some of the fantastic work that was being done by other contractors.
Many companies were acknowledged for their excellence and were fortunate enough to share in the spoils of acknowledgement. At the same time there we some categories that did not get awarded during my judging. That was done with the full support of Kimberly Clark as they held the same view that only excellence should be awarded
The health of the BSCAA, where your peak body puts in significant interest to work on behalf of you – lobbying governments, advocating with the property industry to create fairer contracts that will allow you to generate the right return for your business in a way that is fair, transparent and accountable, each way. Relationships that are built on trust, respect and appreciation for each others specific needs and wants. The executive committee members all volunteer their time for you.
The development of the certificate level training that provides employees with the necessary skills to carry out their roles well. And another highlight; the adoption of technology in service delivery. Seeing how many companies are investing in control mechanisms such as software and the Internet for reporting and data collection as well as relationship management.
The attendance levels at industry training and events are on the rise, a sure sign that people want to take responsibility for their actions, results and futures. That is a great thing.
There has been a steering committee formed to establish the Cleaning and Hygiene Council of Australia (CHCA) that is looking to establish universal standards of training and delivery to the whole of the cleaning industry, not just the contract industry, with the view that genuine career opportunities will be available to people who want to take a career further
A core of younger business owners continue to ‘bob up’ and put pressure on the whole of the industry to step up and be counted. All industries need new blood, this one is certainly no different, so when these younger business owners put their hands up and want to be part of the association and help shape the industry we should get excited.
A mix of the older, wiser heads and the young up-and-comers or rising stars is what will ensure the vitality, vibrancy and viability of the industry.
In hindsight I should have sought the counsel of others in getting some opinions on the article and tempered it rather than appearing to throw a blanket over everyone and appear to bunch you all together.
Had I done that I could have spared many people the angst of reading an article that could give the opinion that I have no respect for this industry. That is certainly not the case, on the contrary it is one that I continue to love working in and only want to see it and all people touched by it to prosper.
Please accept my apologies.