Industry Leaders Forum: Sarah McBride, CEO, BSCNZ

How was 2020 for the BSCNZ? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

Despite the challenges and uncertainty of 2020, I would say that we should be extremely grateful to be in the industry we are.

The value of commercial cleaning took on a whole new meaning in 2020. As a result of the global pandemic the world will never view our industry the same again. The invisible industry became visible and the value we offer to the community has now gained the level of respect that it truly deserves.

One of the highlights of 2020 was how we worked together as a collective group of businesses to ensure the safety of New Zealanders during the pandemic. In December, had the privilege of attending an event hosted by the Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni.

During this event she thanked a variety of their key partners, including the BSCNZ, for their work during the pandemic. In her own words, ‘who could have seen this coming?’

None of us did, but when BSCNZ members needed to step up, they did. Hearing the stories of how members worked with their staff, firstly to ensure their health and safety, but also the wellbeing of those they would go home to, truly inspired me. Do we always get it right, the truthful answer is no, however, the difference is we work together to strive for greater outcomes.

How would you rate the industry’s response to the pandemic?

Our industry is not regulated, anyone can pick up a mop and say they are a commercial cleaner.

However, the pandemic has helped to highlight the fundamental difference between those that understand the cleaning and hygiene requirements of the vast variety of environments we work in, and those who simply do what has always been done.

Just recently I read an article on a spike in Norovirus at preschools. I have one question for you, what type of commercial cleaner do you want to be cleaning those facilities? BSCNZ members noted an increase in business due to the fact they could offer their customers the reassurance and the knowledge required to keep their working environment hygienic and safe.

What will be the immediate focus for the BSCNZ in 2021?

Fundamentally we are looking forward to getting together. 2020 saw us working in silos, which is ironic considering most of our work is mostly completed unseen after hours.

I believe we all now understand the value of face-to-face engagement, the benefit that it brings to working relationships and to our general wellbeing.

Like many in 2020 we were unable to hold our major event for the year, CleanNZ and our CleanSweep awards. The BSCNZ is excited to organise and host our industry awards in 2021. This night celebrates the best of our industry and our work.

We also look forward to working with INCLEAN and Interpoint Events to bring our key suppliers together for CleanNZ Expo.

2021 is perfect timing to bring supplier experts together to continue the important discussion of what the future of our industry looks like from their prospective.

Suppliers to industry play a critical role in the value and experience our commercial cleaners bring to NZ and our customers.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for the industry over the next 12 months?

Balancing supply and demand. This has always been a challenge. Historically, we have relied on experience, economic outlook, and data from years past. 2020 saw this completely turned on its head.

BSCNZ members have the opportunity to continue to work together, to ensure our industry voice is heard by government and the wider commercial market, that we continue to raise and address the issues that stand between us and a sustainable industry future.

Another challenge will be the ongoing issues with labour supply, however, in saying this I want to take a positive spin by saying we have the opportunity to attract new talent to our industry.

It is up to us to educate potential employees on the career opportunities available within the industry, given the right attitude and aptitude. Anyone who has worked in this industry would agree, it’s not the faint hearted, but every time we turn up work and leave, we leave the environment a better place.

What do you expect to be the big trends of 2021?

Commercial cleaning customers will likely require higher standards from their subcontractors. There will be an expectation that contractors understand the fundamentals of how to clean and protect the work environment from viruses such as COVID-19. But also understand the connection between a clean environment and the wellbeing of the staff working in their facilities.

A second market trend will be companies wanting to engage commercial cleaning contractors that don’t just offer the ‘lowest price’ but offer the reassurance that they are ethical employers and business owners, who are not about cutting corners at the expense of the employees carrying out the work.

This article first appeared in the February issue of INCLEAN NZ magazine

Read the original article here

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