By Dr. Ilham Kadri
There is no life without water. In the same way, I have always maintained that “there is no sustainable life without hygiene and cleaning.” I am passionate about the cleaning sector and constantly seek out ways to improve public perceptions of the JanSan industry. Being a female President and CEO of Diversey, a global cleaning solutions provider, I have been fortunate to learn many valuable lessons from my co-workers and business partners along the way. And I hope you find some of those valuable lessons equally inspiring.
Passion as your driver
When you are passionate about your job, you are more effective in using your expertise and intuition to make sound business decisions. Such passion drives creativity and innovation, and opens up so many possibilities that you might never have imagined. It also helps to get you through the obstacles and rejections that we all face.
As members of the JanSan industry, we have been looking around our world for hygiene issues that we can solve. If we are passionate about solving the problems and don’t give up, we can help make it our reality.
Diversity and Inclusion
Seventy percent of the workers in the cleaning industry are female and half of them are illiterate or do not speak the language of the country they work in. It is so important for us to give them the chances to prosper. Our companies can set a good example for the industry, and even for other enterprises, by showing that the glass ceiling for women at work is meant to be broken.
I was born and raised in Casablanca, but it certainly wasn’t anything like the Hollywood film of that name. There’s a saying in Morocco that every woman has two exits. The first one is from their home to their husband’s home, and the second is to the grave. Promoting diversity and the advancement of women in their careers in the workplace, I hope, can show more women their third exit into the workforce – and to many more other opportunities. It is also the reason why I founded the ISSA Hygieia Network, a non-profit organization aiming at advancing the roles of women at all levels in the JanSan industry.
With the appropriate diversity initiatives, companies can attract, retain, and advance their workforce; building a stronger team with different backgrounds, cultures, gender, and generations.
Sense of Purpose
At work, you are a colleague and a leader. As a world citizen, you are a member of a global community striving to make our world a better place, not only for ourselves, but for the future of our children. Business leaders should work tirelessly to set their work culture right and give employees a sense of purpose. Last year, Diversey set in motion a rebranding campaign by defining a purpose and a mission that went beyond the pure optics of hygiene and supported the wider cause of sustainability.
“Sustainability goals” are not empty buzzwords, but an essential business strategy for building a stronger, more enduring company. Setting your own sustainability metrics and targets can help to identify achievable practices. We must take into consideration topics such as: how products are being built; what materials are being used in the products; how we can minimize the water/energy consumption during production; how we package these cleaning products; and how the cleaning equipment is being maintained.
Sustainability, I believe, is one of the topics that companies need to investigate, not as a means to raise reputation, but to ensure the longevity of the business and to give their employees a meaning to come to work every day.
Be Innovative and Stay Relevant
One of the biggest challenges for our industry is to bring visibility to the invisible and transform the industry to be more value-driven. Cleanliness is so important and relevant to our daily lives. However, too often it goes unnoticed until it’s lacking, or when it seems that it is too late to change. Companies need to join hands in improving the image of the JanSan industry and re-build the pride of belonging to such an industry while rebuilding the value of CLEAN.
The Internet of Things has grown quickly in recent years. Every industry is keen to develop networks that connect their devices and appliances through sensors and software. Diversey’s Internet of Clean is our very own new platform that helps our customers to monitor and manage their cleaning operations remotely. This enables them to deliver effective cleaning and hygiene technologies to their customers, which makes their businesses more productive and more profitable, while also building more pride and adding value to activities within the cleaners’ community.
In the next couple of months, I will be sharing more of my experiences and thoughts on the JanSan industry with you all. Stay tuned, and together we can look forward to bringing new changes to the industry.