President and CEO of Servicona leading service provider in the field of storage and infection prevention.
Taking the industry to the next level and providing a healthy environment for people to thrive – this has long been the goal of our company, our foundation. We know the two are intertwined: to take the cleaning industry to the next level, our team members need to understand their critical role in creating healthy environments for people to thrive. We also know that in order to succeed as a company, we must create a healthy environment for our employees, one based on trust.
Servicon is a commercial cleaning service provider specializing in infection prevention in healthcare and other large, complex environments. As Covid-19 hit and everything from restaurants to stores closed, our team faced the pandemic and worked tirelessly to keep hospitals and other essential facilities open and operating safely. When other companies struggled with absenteeism and staff shortages, our employees showed up around the clock. Despite the tight labor market, we have continued to hire staff and have significantly expanded our team in recent years.
By leading purposefully and creating an environment of trust, we were able to thrive in a time when others stumbled. It has shown us that gaining the trust of our people is the foundation of our success. Below are examples of ways my company has built trust during the pandemic that your company can also implement to create a thriving workplace.
The pandemic emphasized the need to always communicate with employees. You must spend countless hours and resources developing internal and external communication strategies to keep your employees and customers informed.
During the height of the pandemic, we stayed on top of the latest updates from the CDC, EPA, WHO and other regulatory bodies. we spread the information by any means available: social media, emails, e-newsletters, virtual town hall meetings, and even personal phone calls. We have many Spanish employees, so we produce all our communication in English and Spanish as well. Before traveling to our job boards to discuss the Covid-19 situation with our team members, our executive leadership team also studied and practiced motivational interviewing to successfully lead these conversations.
Make sure your people trust you to listen to their concerns. Two-way communication is important, so share your personal stories and concerns and listen to theirs.
You should focus on involving, recognizing and learning from your employees. And if your company is like mine, which instead of selling a product, provides services to customers, it means that your employees and their experiences are more important than anything else. For example, we use a third party every year to conduct an employee engagement survey. The anonymous answers from an employee survey can give you real insight into how your team members are feeling, where you are succeeding and where you can improve. And that feedback should directly influence your decision making during your strategic planning sessions.
Likewise, we launched an official Employee Recognition program this year. It is an opportunity to recognize and reward individual employees and teams for their exceptional work. These efforts are worth their time. In 2021, 41% of our new hires were referred to us by current team members.
Our managers were on site during the pandemic to help and support our frontline workers. Senior management filled it out and supplied PPE and other products as needed. Our employees and customers knew we were there for them and were doing everything we could to keep everyone safe and healthy. And we didn’t just focus on physical safety. We also conducted quarterly Mental Health Town Halls with a trained and licensed therapist to give our team tools, language, and perspective to get through one of the most emotionally taxing times in the modern era.
One bright spot from this pandemic is that the general public is more aware of the critical role workers play in keeping their communities safe and their mental health. It’s never been easier to advocate for your employees, and your customers and customers will likely support it too.
Servicon is by nature a private company. We have no shareholders to appease or need the approval of a board of directors. When the market – or the world – changes, we can react quickly. In the case of the pandemic, when our office closed, our remote working technology was up and running within two days. And within six months we wrote a remote policy.
My advice to you is to be as flexible as possible with family responsibilities, such as with start and end times or taking care of things like childcare. Make sure your employees know that if something they need is achievable, you’ll do everything you can to make it happen.
I deliberately left this one last because none of the above will inspire confidence if it’s not real. Nothing you do to build trust can be fake or superficial. Our company has many employees who have been with us for more than 20 or even 30 years, but even many who have been here for barely a year tell us that they feel we genuinely care. And we do. I believe that when people feel safe and cared for, they will do whatever it takes to help the business succeed.
As Covid-19 descended on the world, it seemed that everything we had been working towards over the past few years led to tackling this crisis. These values didn’t just drag us through the pandemic; they can help us – and you – through the next crisis and the next, as long as we stay true to our purpose and our people.