Here at Fidelis, people sit firmly at the heart of our company ethics. On the one hand, it’s the people who pay us: our cleaning contract partners. On the other hand, it’s the people we pay: our cleaning operatives. We certainly owe them a lot and, especially over the last 18 months, cleaning operatives have been on the frontline. We hope that they’re never again labelled as ‘just a cleaner’. Over the coming months, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs about what we mean by ethical cleaning. In this first one, we’re looking at our approach of putting people at the centre of our work.  

Starting with a culture of honesty and trustworthiness 

Our company culture starts with us being a team. Cleaning operatives are our ambassadors, so we always ensure they’re uniformed, equipped, and skilled. We initially give each operative two uniforms, without a deposit or any other charge, and we supply replacements as needed. We always work to understand what their needs are for the specific job at hand. Conditions can vary hugely between operatives on the ground. Cleaning in a confined space at a manufacturing facility is worlds apart from housekeeping in a five-star executive office building. We’ll make sure that both operatives are fully trained, equipped with the right PPE (personal protective equipment), and empowered to do their best in each circumstance.  

All our operatives are given a fully detailed induction prior to starting on the job, with everything from right-to-work checks to initial training. We also provide our colleague charter, which sets out roles and responsibilities on both sides. It’s an agreement based on mutual respect. For operatives, they agree to abide by the highest standards, such as turning up in advance for shifts and giving adequate notice of changes to their availability. For our part, Fidelis agrees to such things as helping to understand what and when they’re paid, what their schedule is, and how they’re going to be managed. 

Real rewards and recognition for our frontline workers 

Indeed, we want our cleaning operatives to feel valued, as we know they make a real difference. We currently have over 400 cleaning operatives, plus the support team at head office. We focus on real rewards and recognition, and we’re proud of our record of low staff turnover. At least in part, we put this down to our attention to detail. Each of our operatives gets a birthday and Christmas card, signed by head office staff and delivered by post to their home. And our seasonal newsletter includes testimonials from our customers who’ve recognised operatives when they’ve gone above and beyond.  

At Fidelis, we pay cleaning operatives every fortnight. It makes a real difference, especially for our people on part-time contracts, to be paid soon after they’ve done the work. We provide recognition by giving shopping vouchers for exceptional work. But beyond payment, we know that we can transform the working lives of our staff. For instance, when we took over the contract for cleaning at a major Midlands educational institution, we did more than just welcome TUPE-transferred operatives over to our team. We brought them into the partnership with the client. 

Contracts that become partnerships  

From a customer relationship point of view, we’re always looking for the personal touch that makes for a true partnership. That’s why customer service skills are part of the initial training we give operatives. We’re constantly striving to raise the bar with our cleaning. It’s not enough for audits to be showing we’re consistently meeting or exceeding agreed targets on conformance cleaning. We’ll find out from people in the business what they need for us to do to go that extra mile.  

The past year has been a testing one for all sorts of relationships. We’re immensely proud of our performance as a cleaning contractor over the last 18 months. Of the many sites where we were operating in March 2020, we continued to provide our services in all but three sites. (And that was because in each case our clients had completely closed these sites). Even where we were operating a much-reduced service, we stayed in frequent contact with our clients, as we knew we would need to pick up where we’d left off. And we know from feedback that not all cleaning contractors provided that same level of customer focus during those challenging times.  

A people-centred approach to ethical cleaning 

We want to make people shine in your business. Our operatives know that if they do a good job, they’re helping you to do a good job too. Our approach to conformance cleaning and housekeeping helps you show your staff and customers that you’re looking after them. And our cleaning operatives’ professionalism enhances your ability to impress your clients in turn. As one of our operatives put it themselves, when it comes to why our contract cleaning partnerships are so successful, the difference is us. That’s because people are at the very centre of our approach to ethical cleaning.  

To find out more about Fidelis Group and what we mean by ethical cleaning, contact one of the team today. 

  • Telephone: 0845 431 0382  |  0121 289 3258 
  • Email: info@fidelisgroup.co.uk   

Post by Lloyd Ansermoz 

Lloyd is the Director of Fidelis Contract Services Ltd, a business dedicated to performance and professionalism in contract cleaning. He founded the company over ten years ago with the aim of becoming the cleaning partner of choice for a range of different sectors. For Lloyd, providing exemplary service is about valuing customers and staff to build a foundation of trust for successful long-term partnerships.  

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