Richard Brown, the assistant director of building services at Princeton University, credits certification courses as a tool for helping him (and his team) analyze data, recognize best practices, achieve standards of clean, excel at customer service, and plan and strategize to be proactive rather than reactive. He previously achieved certification for the ISSA Cleaning Management Institute and saw an opportunity for his department (44 supervisors, managers, and team leaders over 300 workers) to utilize the certification course program. Through the use of these certification courses "[he] realized the scope and value of a professional approach to cleaning" (Brown). Product and cleaning information learned via word of mouth is sometimes helpful, but he believes it's not enough and ultimately a training platform helps custodians and trainers alike to stay ahead of potential problems and reduce error. Brown, only three months into his role, recommended the team utilize the ISSA CMI Custodial Supervisor Certification with the hope of improving communications and making work more efficient for his team.
Custodians play a key role in maintaining safety and cleanliness in buildings and businesses, and utilizing a system like the ISSA CMI Custodial Supervisor Certification recognizes their importance and sets them up for success on the job. The ISSA Certification has four sections (which each cover a particular area of supervising and managing custodial maintenance work) with the ultimate goal of improving operations and providing the opportunity to advance skillsets and careers. They aid in the development of leadership qualities and technical workplace skills. Brown's leadership team embraced his proposal for the ISSA CMI Custodial Supervisor Certification and started with a five-day training trial and utilized the program full-time after seeing results. Some of the team members had previous experience with internal management training, while others had no training experience outside of basic on-the-job training for new front-line employees. The results are discussed in the following paragraph.
After on-site training was complete, a four-question survey validated employee confidence and appreciation. Brown states even the most tenured employees expressed thanks for the program itself, it's relevance, and appreciated the fact that the university invested in their personal career development. Brown says after implementing the program they "experienced a genuine cultural shift and new ideas began to emerge from team members at all levels". The cultural shift has been maintained by fostering one-on-one interviews with the 13 supervisors who participated in the certification, and by referring to the ISSA CMI Certification training manual for specific topics and chapters. This helps to gather feedback that leadership then uses to continually improve the building services department. In order to achieve operational requirements and foster a culture of open and honest communication "we must recognize that the most valuable resource any organization possesses are its team members". Those who successfully achieve the custodial supervisor certificate can then continue to earn additional certification which helps achieve professional goals and helps benefit the department. Investing in continued professional development is critical to organizational advancement and creating a positive work culture.