Probably every residential cleaning service has a few cleaning technicians that are packing “heat” – in this case contraband super-cleaners like bleach – beneath the passenger seat, just for special occasions. So it stands to follow that changing up your entire chemistry, especially to green products, will not be without a few relapses. The key to keeping the entire staff consistently green is part education, part inspiration.
Your staff are consumers too and they’ve been exposed to the same brainwashing from soap manufacturers that your customer has – more is better, faster or both. But for employees to really dig into the new routine, it’s not just education that’s needed. Help them understand what part of the environmental solution they contribute. Inspire them to a point of pride.
Kris Koenig started Natura Clean cleaning green but growth pains necessitated a change in chemistry. “I did my research, came up with a list of criteria that would help me select a short list of likely green products from all available options. Once I assembled that short list, I had my teams field test them.” By making the final decision theirs, her staff took ownership of the new program.
It’s important to make a big deal out of the health risks associated with traditional cleaning products. Human nature dictates that people are more likely to make big changes when it affects them personally. So it stands to reason that protecting their health is a more compelling message for employees, overall, than environmental stewardship.
Consider that, of any group, your employees are perhaps the most vulnerable to the toxins in typical cleaning products because of the amount of time they spend working with cleaning agents. It’s a simple shift, but instead of you taking credit for reducing their exposure to toxins in cleaning products that, day-in and day-out, could cause real harm in the scope of occupational use, inspire them to see that they’ll be reducing their exposure by embracing the new changes. As you know, a subtle change in phrasing can have a big influence on outlook.
For Joe Walsh, green cleaning has been a differentiator for his employee recruiting in addition to his customer acquisition. “My job applicants have made the choice to apply with me because I am green. They are totally on-board with green cleaning, because they were already motivated and committed to green living before they ever heard of Green Clean Maine. They appreciate not being expected to use harsh chemicals. And I think they enjoy the “movement” factor – being part of something important, from which everyone benefits.”
Be sure to check out all the articles in this series:
Part 3 – Engaging Employees