Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Practical Ways to Highlight Environmental Services' Value

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Practical Ways to Highlight Environmental Services' Value

Article excerpt

As discussed in Part 1 of this column last month, environmental services technicians often have to cope with negative perceptions and constant change, which can create a high level of stress. This impact, however, can be reduced by highlighting the importance of their role.

According to a survey-based study of 87 housekeepers and 126 non-housekeeper employees conducted by a research team from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., the most successful housekeepers are not viewed as just "housekeepers" but as "environmental services technicians" who possess a range of skills, abilities and knowledge. One change that might improve the experience of these workers is to eliminate the use of titles such as housekeeper, to more accurately define their areas of expertise in health care.

An additional change that will help to improve morale would be to allow them greater input into how to do their work. By giving technicians the ability to make crucial decisions that positively impact the patient experience, organizations will benefit from higher morale, improved problem-solving and an overall improved culture.

Celebrating team member accomplishments is another way to boost morale. When leaders emphasize the importance of the environmental services staff to other employees outside of the department, it fosters a greater appreciation for their contribution to the organization. Further, establishing a safe space for sharing concerns can help team members to feel secure and appreciated. …

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