The momentum of the industry is such that the odds are, if your facility orders its materials from a distributor, you’ve noticed green cleaning steadily and authoritatively creeping into the mainstream. That’s because as green alternatives became easier to produce, they got cheaper, meaning you practically had to have something against the environment to not see the benefits in the newer, more sustainable options.
Still, on the side of facilities managers, there is plenty of work that needs to be done. Your janitorial company in Los Angeles can help, but there are internal changes that must be addressed too. Not only do sustainability initiatives take a good amount of planning and effort to come to fruition, there is a cultural change that often must take place in order to truly embrace the full benefits. This is often called “buy-in,” and it can be an ongoing challenge to foster this buy in, when group effort is needed. Here’s how to get it started.
Start at the top
No matter what type of company you are, broad adoption of sustainability will have to start at the top. That means the people at the top must not only sign off on green changes, but endorse them, and publicly support the changes; culture is top-down in that way.
There will always be skeptics and detractors who aren’t fully on board, or who begrudgingly go along with changes because of either preconceived notions, or simply preferring the old way of doing things for some personal reason. That’s why group buy-in is so important. If these detractors see that most people are going along and their life is still more or less the same, they will be more likely to keep things copacetic.
Show the benefits
When extra work is necessary, such as an added compliance burden, there can be a lot of natural kickback to new additions. For this reason, it can help to make sure that the benefits are being clearly expressed. This can be done the old-fashioned way, by reporting on the benefits every once in a while, in meetings or newsletters: “we saved this much water, eliminated this many plastic bottles, saved the company this much money.” A company can communicate these benefits better by crafting a story. Eliminating 5,000 water bottles isn’t that interesting; if you then, as a company donate 5,000 water bottles to an area with water vulnerability, then you’ve got a story that even the most ardent recycling skeptic has to take note of. There is an added investment, but that is the power of a concerted sustainability initiative.
Getting buy-in from your employees should be the main challenge, not getting buy-in from your janitorial company in Los Angeles. No facilities manager has time to also manage their janitors, which is why it’s important to ensure that your company has a similar commitment to sustainability. If not, it’s time to look at another option.