Engagement activities deliver Empowered People in Cleaning Services

Our University Strategy, Inspiring People, Changing the World, sets out our vision to be a world-class, world-changing university – an ambition that requires a step-change in our culture and the way we work together.

The Empowering People work-stream has been charged with focussing on the University-wide cultural changes required to deliver our collective goals. In response there are many activities happening at a local level designed to address the issues identified during the development of the strategy and in previous staff surveys which included the extent to which we feel valued and empowered and also our understanding of how our work impacts upon the delivery of the University’s goals. This week, we take a closer look at some of the innovative activities that have been delivered at a local level in Cleaning Services.

When Lorraine Connolly, Operations Manager for Cleaning Services, undertook the First Line Management Programme, it helped her refine her vision of how to fully engage and empower the 380 colleagues in the Cleaning Services team, particularly in relation to our communal goals of excellent student experience, excellence in research and enhancing our international connections and activities.

Working closely with June Cullen, Organisational Development and Learning Lead in the Employee and Organisational Development Team, the first step taken to bring her vision to life was the development of a range of activities designed to help break down the barriers stopping her team from feeling more engaged and empowered in their own roles.

With 30,000 students and staff on Campus daily, alongside a wide array of different types of spaces, all Cleaning Services staff have a vital role to play in ensuring staff and students have a clean and hygienic workspace – crucial to the smooth running of the University - and the activities were designed to embed this knowledge within every member of the Cleaning Services team.

An engaging and informative video was created

The creation of an engaging and informative video, in support of planned training/workshop sessions for all Cleaning Services staff, was the first step taken and working closely with June and colleagues in the Media Production Team (support given by Colin Brierley and David Collins), the video resource was developed to help showcase the very specialised contribution Cleaning Services colleagues make to the delivery of the University’s key activities.

You can watch the video below:

Watch the Cleaning Services Engagement Video

‘The video was made first and foremost for the Cleaners; not for other colleagues. It clearly showcases their own contribution to the University’s goals and ambitions - we work to ensure our facilities are of the highest and most hygienic standard, for example to showcase best practice to our future doctors and nurses. The ability we have to positively impact people is amazing.’
Lorraine Connolly, Operations Manager for Cleaning Services


Intimate training sessions held for all Cleaning Services colleagues

Beginning in autumn 2014 small training/workshop sessions, facilitated by Madeleine O’Brien from Dal Riada, started being delivered for all Cleaning Services staff with a maximum of 12 colleagues taking part. The aim of the sessions was to further embed the value of this contribution, while focussing on the softer skills required to complement their excellent technical training accredited by The Institute of Cleaning Science.

The sessions were held in Cleaning Services own dedicated training room, allowing them to flex the times of the sessions to accommodate the varied working patterns of their staff. Lorraine personally introduced each session, detailing her vision of how the team impact on the delivery of the University’s goals. The video was then shown to reinforce this message, and followed by workshop activities on assertiveness and excellent customer communication skills.

The sessions received excellent feedback from participants: 

‘I’m better equipped to deal with all aspects of customer situations’

‘I’m going to be more aware of how I communicate with people’

‘I have an improved awareness of customer needs’

Staff then came together to draft their own ‘Customer Standards’

The culmination of the programme of engagement activities was to bring colleagues together to write their own ‘Customer Standards’, utilising their shared knowledge of how their work as a service impacts their customers - and in turn the delivery of the university’s goals - and allowing them to take ownership of the standard of service delivery they offer.

This activity helped to fully embed their understanding of how their actions contributed to the delivery of the University’s strategy and to empower them in delivering an exceptional cleaning service for University staff and students.

The collective impact of these activities is clearly shown in the exceptionally positive Staff Survey results for Cleaning Services, particularly in the areas of feeling valued by the University and understanding the aims of the University, where they achieved some of the highest scores of any Unit.

Staff Survey action planning

The full University-wide Staff Survey results are now available on the Inspiring Change portal and Unit-level results are currently being cascaded across Schools, Research Institutes and Services.

Each area is taking ownership for their own action planning following receipt of their results and hopefully the positive story of Cleaning Services engagement activities will provide inspiration for other action plans. Over the coming months we will be sharing more examples of best practice and innovation from across the University.

Share success stories

If you have a story of positive change or innovation on any scale you would like to share on the Inspiring Change portal, then please do get in touch. Remember, there are also continuous opportunities available to offer further feedback and be a part of the on-going conversation. You can visit our Get Involved page to find out how!