Even before COVID-19, outsourcing cleaning was a growing trend in schools, colleges, universities, and large venues everywhere. Typically replacing in-house teams with hired contractors occurs when the institution’s executive team determines that the cleaning operations can—and should— be outsourced. Most often, the reason is to produce improved, verifiable results and greater value for the organizations. Then came the pandemic.
Some larger institutions paid their in-house custodial workers, at least for part of the time, the schools were remote. However, for each institution that paid its in-house workers, many others realized savings. These savings will be remembered long after the pandemic and could make outsourcing even more appealing.
Adding to the outsourcing vs. in-house debate is the increasing importance staff, parents, students, and visitors put on the health, safety, and cleanliness of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. In a study updated in 2021, students reported being more satisfied with the quality of cleaning performed by outside contractors than in-house custodial teams.
Benefits Stack Up
Outsourcing can produce many advantages:
- Reduced expenses, including:
- Labor (wages, overtime pay, benefits, pensions, sick pay, vacations)
- Equipment and supplies
- Training and development
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Improved data collection and documentation
- Flexibility (easier, faster adaption to budget cuts and the ability to replace contractors that do not meet expectations)
- Cleaner, safer, healthier facilities, whether in reality or perception only.
With so many perceived benefits, how can in-house facility management executives fight back to keep their and their team members’ jobs and be recognized for their superior operations? The answer is by knowing— beyond all doubt—that their operations are best-in-class and having evidence-based data from a comprehensive and integrated assessment of the cleaning operations.
While some facility management executives may prefer to believe otherwise, the days of “thinking” cleaning operations are being run properly, and cleanliness goals are being met are over. Today’s schools, universities, and other large institutions demand proof of positive cleaning outcomes. Securing this proof requires knowing—without a doubt— that no matter what method of monitoring is used, your operations will earn an A+.
What can facility management executives do? It starts with conducting a comprehensive and integrated assessment of their current cleaning operations to discover the truths—good or bad—of where they stand on the quality scale. It then calls for the willingness to make necessary improvements to ensure your team and program consistently meet top quality standards. These actions require an open-minded leadership willing to look clearly and realistically at their operations and do what may be needed to bring their in-house programs to where they want to be: best-in-class.
Outsourcing is an increasing threat for many in-house custodial departments and their leaders. However, outsourcing will not be considered for facilities with solid leadership that constantly assess and improve their in-house cleaning operations to attain greater efficiencies and improved results. Instead, these facilities and their leaders will be recognized.
Calling All Facility Management Executives:
How can you be sure your in-house cleaning operations are operating as efficiently and effectively as they need to be to satisfy the demands of all stakeholders? Learn how to assess your operations, make any necessary improvements, and get the data to verify you and your department’s ongoing value.