Supporting the Education Sector to SHINE

Education providers tell us they are facing tougher year on year financial challenges and it is having a significant impact on their ability to source quality facilities management. With diminishing budgets (particularly in state schools) it is increasingly hard to meet the ever growing demands for high standards from parents and students. Education establishments, quite rightly, have their focus firmly on providing a quality education for their students on these limited resources. With more and more constraints on their budgets it is imperative that we work closely with our schools, colleges and universities to devise methods of partnership working that provide clean and safe environments in which everyone can work and thrive. As we understand the link between the physical learning environment and overall performance, we work hard to ensure we create clinically clean environments to mitigate the risk of infection outbreak, combating sickness and increasing attendance rates.

Nviro’s vision is to SHINE and our aim is to consistently provide safe, clean and hygienic environments in which our customers can thrive. Through our ethos of ‘Cleaning with a Conscience’ that is embedded in the DNA of our organisation, our mission is to look after our people so they look after our customers and this is ultimately how we will we assist in achieving our partners outcomes.

Our values of Passionate, Collaborative, Resilient and Respectful play a key part in everything we do and our preferred working approach is to mirror these in all partnerships we undertake.

We provide cleaning and hygiene services to a wide variety of educational facilities and understand the varying and complex demands of different educational establishments and campuses and how the requirements change throughout the academic year.

Our customers tell us we are more than your average cleaning company though. They like that we care about driving continuous improvement for the benefit of our customers and that we want to be viewed as a strategic partner and as part of their learning community.

Customers share their concerns with us, they struggle to recruit Facilities Management staff and then with retention. The high turnover is time consuming for them, financially crippling and unsettling for staff and students. We are often asked to support a school with resolving this issue for them. Bringing a tried and tested recruitment and retention strategy as the solution.

Recruitment and Retention

To keep ahead and remain stable in today’s economic climate, we work hard to ensure we invest in our staff and the machinery and products they use. This enables us to provide a stable, consistent workforce and an efficient, cost effective service to the customer. Under pinning this is our Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

In recent years the cleaning industry has seen a downturn in recruitment, with the strengthened EU economy drawing our labour pool back into Europe. Facing this challenge with recruitment and retention, we have adopted a culture within Nviro where we value our staff and offer development and support, and value cleaning as a career. Our staff retention rate is impressively 20% higher than the industry average. Lower staff absence and turnover results in more time delivering a great service rather than recruiting new staff. We value the family feel our company has, despite our substantial growth over the last 25 years and know that a happy team means better productivity, better staff retention, better cleaning standards, and ultimately results in driving down cost.

Whilst being large enough to support our customers changing and varied needs and being in a position to strive for continued improvements, we retain our small company ethos of maintaining the close working relationships with our local teams and customers.

Our customers tell us they need more from their suppliers and that successful contract award will be won by those not only delivering sustained quality and demonstrable value, but also by those offering intangible benefits. Our customer feedback tells us they value us for our unwavering focus on innovation and the environment, sophisticated quality monitoring technology, innovative and improved cleaning methods, investment in market-leading equipment, on-site staff training delivered by a BICSc Accredited Training Hub and accurate payroll processes ensuring staff are paid correctly and on time - reducing staff turnover.

Recruitment and Safeguarding

Our solutions begin with a strong basis of the latest machinery, making lighter work of the tasks in hand and reducing the physical impact of such tasks on our Operatives and providing exceptional end results. This means the recruitment requirements and concerns are mitigated as fewer personnel are needed at the outset.

In addition to the traditional recruitment avenues we are lucky enough to be able to recruit through word of mouth from our staff who speak positively about their work and encourage others to join us. We also accumulate staff through TUPE when taking on new services and our in-house experts in this ensure we offer a smooth transition and much reassurance to staff at an unsettling time.

To reassure our schools and colleges about the safety of students, Nviro recognises that all staff who, during the course of their employment, have direct or indirect contact with children, families and vulnerable adults or who have access to information about them, have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. We have a detailed understanding of, and robust controls and procedures in place around the recruitment, selection and vetting of staff working at schools and sites with vulnerable children and adults.

Strict recruitment and vetting procedures are rigorously applied, including enhanced DBS checks, checks of the Children’s Barred List. All staff are employed in line with Right to Work and Safeguarding guidelines and all records are maintained. To protect the students, teachers and building users and prevent people working illegally or fraudulently, Passport Proven has been implemented, a web-based document verification programme, which instantly checks and verifies right to work documents such as passports and EAA ID cards.

Training and Development

All staff go through a comprehensive employee induction training programme, which covers areas such as health and safety, safeguarding, the environment and a cleaning assessment in line with the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BISCs) guidelines. During a recent mobilisation, a Union Representative stated that it was “the best induction training they had ever seen.”

All Operatives pass through our induction training course, regardless of how long they have worked in the industry. We look after our staff, giving them industry-recognised training so that they in turn look after our customers by delivering service excellence.

Continuous personal development and training are high priorities for Nviro. We view cleaning as a profession with progression routes. This career focus attracts personnel. Ongoing and regular training ensures that our staff receive refresher courses so that they comply with legislation, work more efficiently and work safely. For staff morale, our investment in training demonstrates that we care about our staff and it allows them to feel secure and knowledgeable in their roles.

Tools to do the job

A crucial element of service delivery is the investment in new and modern equipment which all staff are fully trained in, enabling us to deliver a superior and enhanced level of cleaning.

As forward thinkers in our industry, we provide the best combination of experience and innovation. The equipment deployed in our schools is designed to maintain high standards whilst increasing staff productivity resulting in direct savings and protecting the fabric of the building through undertaking periodic tasks as part of the daily cleaning routine.

Adopting the best equipment we can also aids our recruitment and retention strategy. Cleaning Operatives are supported in their physically demanding duties with the correct tools, reducing work related injury and illness and increasing job satisfaction. Perfect examples of these beneficial tools, such as back pack vacuums to save Operatives bending and carrying as the tub vacuums require, cordless technology to remove the need to pace backwards and forwards to plug and unplug - as well as the associated Health and Safety risks.

Management Support

Our workforce are our most valuable asset and as such we must recognise and appreciate their worth. We do this by ensuring a high level of supervision and support.

On and off site Managers spend time with them ensuring clear lines of communication and feedback. Regular contact is kept with Operatives that work out of hours to ensure they hear how much their contribution is valued and appreciated. This enhances their job satisfaction and aids retention. We monitor specifications with continuous improvement in mind, as well as Operative’s personal development and where possible we will provide additional training to enhance their skills and enable them to utilise specialist equipment - allowing them to progress onto more specialist tasks. This provides a career path, routes to progress and varied roles.

Pay and reward

Paying Operatives a decent wage is important but often the rates of pay cannot be as high as we would like. Offering other tangible and desirable benefits can make the difference. We offer staff living wage, attendance bonuses, assisted travel packages, options of equated pay and we are mindful to be considerate of our Operatives benefit requirements. Providing the best salary we can for them. We enhance this with other non-financial benefits such as; training opportunities, career development and careful management and support for their day to day work.

So, the lesson is that by looking after our people, they look after you.

If you would like to hear more about how Nviro can support you with your cleaning we would love to hear from you, please contact us.

02392 370044