Leaders Forum: BSCNZ

INCLEAN chats to Sarah McBride, CEO of BSCNZ.

How was 2019 for BSCNZ? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

Thank Your Cleaner Day is continuing to gain momentum, every year we see more engagement by business and the community.

The idea of the day embodies the essence of the kiwi culture, to acknowledge hard work. There is a widespread understanding that cleaning is an unseen workforce and this day provides businesses with a platform to recognise the valuable work cleaners undertake.

As the industry body BSCNZ will continue to work with members to find creative ideas to invigorate the day and to establish meaningful ways to thank team members. I would like to acknowledge and thank all who get involved and make the effort to spread the Thank Your Cleaner Day message.

In 2019 the industry came together for the BSCNZ Driving Success conference. Speakers from far and wide covered a multitude of relevant topics designed to challenge, motivate and educate attendees. Feedback from the conference was positive and reiterated the importance of holding these events for the industry.

BSCNZ also launched a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development. BSCNZ is now the official work broker for the commercial cleaning sector in New Zealand. The program seeks to place beneficiaries into full time commercial cleaning roles.

In a few short months since its inception the program has been rolled out nation-wide seeing engagement in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch. The program offers BSCNZ members potential employees that have been through a screening process to assist with their ongoing staffing requirements.

What will be the immediate focus for BSCNZ in 2020?

The immediate focus in 2020 will be growing the momentum of the BSCNZ Work Broker Program. BSCNZ will endeavour through the program to find the right fit for employer and employee.

The labour shortage issue within the commercial cleaning sector continues to take up precious internal resources, therefore the program goal is to assist in the recruitment process, alleviating the workload. In addition to this BSCNZ can provide financial assistance to help mitigate the expense of integrating a new employee into the workforce with the monetary and pastoral support provided through the program.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for BSCNZ looking ahead to 2020?

The ongoing drive and focus for the association is to;

  • Create real value for BSCNZ members – tangible benefits that assist in the combined efforts to raise the standards of the commercial cleaning industry.
  • Pull our resources together as a group of employers to establish meaningful engagement with key stakeholders.
  • Ensure there is an understanding of industry best practice, and that there is an ongoing dedicated effort to raising standards. A great quote I heard which always remains true in business is, “keep paddling”.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for the industry looking ahead to 2020?

A potential change of government may bring a new political agenda which will have ongoing, widespread impacts for business. The air of uncertainty lingers with all the challenges that this brings. The Labour Government has had a focus on empowering the ethos of Union and has undertaken a concerted effort to increase the protection of employees.

At the BSCNZ conference in 2019, Minister Iain Lees-Galloway acknowledged the work of the BSCNZ and the essential role the association plays in ensuring the industry’s voice is heard.

A lack of knowledge of an industry combined with legislative change can have the unintended consequence of disempowering business. Regardless of the potential political change, BSCNZ will continue to represent the industry, educating policy advisors and continuing the important discussions.

What is one issue you think the industry should be urgently discussing in 2020?

The go-to answer for this question is climate change and sustainability. While no one would disagree, this issue is extremely important, if we are to focus on the commercial cleaning sector it would be to ask ourselves, “how can we retain margins in our industry?”

Without sustainable margins the future of the industry looks bleak. Margins allow for the investment into the future wellbeing of business. To this point, there is a growing support for the Living Wage, when you take into consideration that 80 per cent of a commercial cleaning contract is made up of labour this maybe a means to challenge customers on price and investing in our greatest asset.

Is there one key message that you would like to share with the industry?

The message that was the forefront of our conference in September:

He aha te mea nui o te ao

What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

It is people, it is people, it is people

We all need our businesses to succeed so that in turn our people succeed, creating a better future for team members. Given we are a labour-based industry I believe this message is one worth sharing for 2020 and for many years to come.

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