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The Value of Perception

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In this industry, we talk a lot about perception. It’s what motivates building patrons to return to a particular facility (or in other cases, avoid it); it determines the dollar amount decision-makers are willing to invest in their facilities’ upkeep; and it determines the overall value we place on the work we do for the cleaning and facilities management industry. Perception is what makes this industry thrive, but at the same time, it can also be detrimental to the work we are trying to accomplish.

In a 2015 article, industry contributor Nicole Bowman wrote, “There’s a famous story about John F. Kennedy’s encounter with a janitor who was cleaning a bathroom at NASA. Kennedy asked the man what he was doing, to which the custodian replied, ‘Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.’ That’s the kind of pride that exemplifies the true role of a janitor’s work. By telling inspiring stories of cleaning staff taking a proactive, engaged, and proud stake in their role, the cleaning industry can help push the janitorial narrative forward—and move beyond negative perceptions.”

The article mentioned above was one of the first cover stories I published for CMM when I was still a new employee with ISSA. Yet, four years later, as I close out my last issue as managing editor for this publication, Bowman’s insight still rings true—it’s up to us to help influence the perception of this industry, our profession, and impart the value of clean.

In my four-and-a-half years working on this magazine—and since ISSA acquired the publication in 2014—one of CMM’s primary goals has been to help shift and elevate the overall perception of the cleaning and facility maintenance industries. I like to think we’ve done our part. At the same time, the journey is continuous, which means we still have a long way to go.

This month’s cover story, “Shifting the Restroom Paradigm,” was meant to generate awareness surrounding the perception of our facilities. The hope is that CMM can help further nudge the needle in the right direction, providing easy-to-implement ideas for generating awareness and reverence for our industry, its contributions, and of course, our facilities.

As I sign off on my last issue of CMM, I urge you to continue on this evolutionary path, and I also thank you for allowing me to help represent this wonderful industry during the past four years.

Kelly Zimmerman

Kelly Zimmerman

Managing Editor, CMM

Kelly Zimmerman is the managing editor of Cleaning & Maintenance Management. She has experience managing industry-specific content for print and digital formats. She holds a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University. Kelly can be reached at kelly@issa.com.

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