As I reflect on the earlier years of my environmental services and facility maintenance career, I recall undergoing training with an emphasis on individual development. We were taught if we failed to plan, we planned to fail.
Fortunately, during that time, many organizations supported comprehensive training and certification of managers for career advancement purposes. This training helped managers lead their staff more effectively, resulting in higher worker productivity and greater work quality. A notable byproduct of the training was the financial benefit to these organizations, as increased productivity and quality led to increased profits.
Sadly, in some organizations, increased profit and productivity has led to reduction of staff with the expectation that remaining workers maintain the same, and sometimes greater, workload. Under this scenario, many organizations no longer see the need for ongoing staff training. Increased productivity was “rewarded” by staff reduction and loss of training support, due to budget restrictions and downsizing. The trend has become, “do more with less.”
Tech Drives Education
When I was 40 years old, I never imagined an unmanned floor scrubber. Yet years later, autonomous scrubbers have become common in larger facilities with plentiful floor care needs.
Ironically, as training has decreased in some facilities, the need for an educated workforce has increased due to the proliferation of technology in the industry. Workers are facing pressure to become more tech savvy, often on their own, without any formal training. Additionally, not to be overlooked is the wealth of computer technology utilized for planning and monitoring product and employee effectiveness.
None of these advancements negates ongoing training. If anything, they represent a need for more comprehensive and extensive training. Unfortunately, some organizations see training as an unnecessary expense and many individuals who seek professional-level training on their own find it unaffordable.
We Can Change the Trend
How do we help organizations see the value of proper training and certification? How do we help individuals see training and certification as an investment in themselves? How do we help motivated workers show their employers that supporting education is a worthwhile investment?
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a way to go. With the support of organizations like IEHA and ISSA, which provide high-quality, competitively priced educational courses, both online and in conveniently located classroom locations, we can change the trend that discourages educating and certifying cleaning staff. We can all work together to encourage workers to invest in themselves so they can reach their maximum potential. We can encourage workers to pursue all available avenues of training and, just as important, encourage organizations to provide training to staff through all available channels.
After more than 35 years in this industry, I have come to appreciate the value of proper training and certification. No product or tool can take the place of this. Even the best product will not perform at maximum efficiency without proper training.