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ISSA Show North America 2022 Wraps Up Education Sessions

Final classes of the week further prove the event's worth to the cleaning industry.

October 14, 2022

On Thursday, ISSA Show North America 2022 wrapped up the event’s education opportunities for cleaning industry professionals.

Here are some of the sessions offered as the show finished this week’s run.

Helping Your Hotel Reach AAA’s Coveted Diamond Status

Looking to take their hotel and their environmental services (EVS) staff up another notch, cleaning professionals attended Target-Hotel EVS: Take Aim at Diamond Status. The session was presented by Margaret Walker-Shaw, former executive director of housekeeping for The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and corporate director of housekeeping for the Four Season hotel in Chicago.

Walker-Shaw first noted the definition of diamond status as the premier level of recognition by the American Automobile Association (better known by its acronym—AAA). She also explained the difference between diamond status and star designations. According to Walker-Shaw, to be approved by AAA, a hotel had to meet 27 basic requirements. But she further emphasized that these requirements boiled down to four main criteria: cleanliness, comfortability, hospitality, and safety.

To achieve these goals, Walker-Shaw stressed the need to know how many employees would be necessary to do all the tasks a hotel required. In fact, she pointed out that at The Venetian, while there were 7,000 rooms, a credit system revealed the true extent of the work—and workers—necessary to provide exceptional service. While one room might be rated at just one credit, another room might be rated at 11 credits. So, the number of credits became a much more clear and valuable piece of information to housekeeping management than the number of rooms to be cleaned.

Overall, she noted five key points that need to be addressed when reaching for diamond status:

  • Understand good service
  • Provide meaningful training
  • Stay on top of your budget
  • Develop your staff with the future in mind
  • Ensure that housekeepers are always well-groomed.

Retaining Women Professionals During the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation has caused major problems for multiple companies and their leadership. However, some leaders have discovered ways to counteract these issues and retain employees effectively in the process. During the panel discussion titled Solving the Great Resignation: Engaging and Retaining Women Professionals, Dr. Felicia Townsend, Rachel Brutosky, Lisa Gould, and Katie Snider shared their methods for engaging and retaining employees even with modern work dynamics considered.

The presentation’s main takeaway was that leaders must put communication, mentorship, respect, and incentives in place in order to motivate and retain their team. Career pathing, making your team feel valued, asking for input, being compassionate, and respecting personal time all helps modern employees to feel appreciated in their positions and willing to do more.

Addressing Your Facility’s Moisture Issues

In Understanding and Maintaining Moisture Intrusion in Your Facility, Chuck Boutall of the Restoration Technical Institute shared how to find and eliminate moisture in various building levels and types. As he explained, the spots you see in your business might be the symptom of a deeper problem. Peeling paint, efflorescence, floor failures, stains, and suspected microbial growth are all indicators of serious problems, and you can typically determine your causes by building structure likewise. As Boutall pointed out, the big three causes of water intrusion are leaks, hydrostatic pressure, and dew point. To counteract this, he stated, “You need to understand how water moves through a structure in order to diagnose these issues and resolve them.”

He outlined the following steps to repair water damage :

  • Inspect and assess
  • Identify the root cause
  • Repair or mitigate the cause
  • Focus on budget and scheduling
  • Perform final repairs.

Using moisture intrusion tools, you can start with thermal imaging, move on to non-destructive RF, and then, a destructive resistance meter. You can also use a concrete moisture probe to detect moisture at different depths in concrete and use data loggers for dew point issues. However, he reminded his audience that the tools can be very specific and that being trained to use them properly is necessary.

Reaping Green Cleaning Benefits

In Leaning Into the Health Benefits of Green Cleaning, Doug Gatlin, CEO at Green Seal, suggested that going green with commercial real estate properties is a lot easier than you might think.

Gatlin started his talk by introducing the hot topic of ESG, which stands for environmental, social, and governance. ESG criteria is used by investors to screen potential investments.

He used, as an example, BlackRock, an investment company that only advances “sustainable investing”—investing only in real estate properties with ownership and management that share its vision on sustainability. According to Gatlin, this movement in financial investments is “driving a lot of business decisions in commercial and corporate real estate and is going to affect trends in terms of demand for green certified products.”

Investors and occupants alike are looking for three things:

  • Great lighting
  • Thermal comfort
  • High-quality indoor air

The good news, Gatlin said, is that going green with a commercial building is not as difficult or as costly as some might believe. He noted that many sources of indoor air pollutants are the toxic ingredients within cleaning and maintenance products. However, he continued, there are literally thousands of certified green products on the market that have been screened against these hazards and could easily be used in place of those with toxic chemicals. Plus, he said, about 75% of all green products are not any more expense than non-green products.

“Really, there doesn’t need to be a sacrifice between healthy people, a healthy planet, and actually making money,” he said, “because many [green] products and technologies come at no additional cost.”

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