“Our new normal” A phrase you undoubtedly hear so often you may now be immune to it.
While living in a post-pandemic world sometimes feels impossible, we are being reassured it will become manageable at least. What has COVID-19 taught us janitorial contractors? How can we be better prepared for the future? You may have your own anxieties about these uncharted waters, but here are three issues BSCs, and specifically those working in HR, need to consider as we move toward this new state of "normal."
#1 - The Recruiting Battle
In the commercial cleaning world, recruiting is on the forefront of both HR and operations. Staffing front-line positions was difficult before COVID-19 and has not been complicated by the "essential worker" designation assigned to our industry. There will be more resistance to entry level pay associated with janitorial jobs because of the essential nature of the work. The additional $600 unemployment stipend has made this challenge more pronounced. My goal here is not to be a Debbie Downer, but for us to invest more time and effort into keeping a solid pipeline of recruits.
#2 - Worker Safety
While chemical and infectious disease safety has always been a matter of concern for BSCs, COVID-19 has increased the awareness and necessity of safety. In fact, OSHA has been releasing guidelines on how employees are to navigate the issue. It is our job to be aware of those general guidelines, understand our risks and liabilities, and respond appropriately. Do we have adequate PPE, supplies, and equipment on hand? We we have the resources and training in place to handle another spike in the virus? Do we need to change any processes given what we know? Make sure that you are working closely with the operations team as things evolve.
#3 - Policy & Regulation Changes
While operations may be taking the brunt of COVID-19, HR professionals a certainly feeling the pressure. As new information comes forth each week, state and federal governments are responding with new and revised laws and policies. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are just two examples of such laws. To keep you company compliant during the ever-changing policies, you NEED a trustworthy source to receive timely information. I would suggest SHRM, your insurance company, accountant, and company attorney. Don't wait for other to feed you the information. Rather, be proactive to learn what is necessary.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of challenges you need to tackle, but rather a good foundation to get you started. Keep this in mind: the companies that are proactive, hopeful, and hard working will rise to the top. Make sure you are in that bunch.