The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty in the service industry and in every business environment. At the start of the outbreak, Glad Group developed a highly effective response plan that enabled the business to flex its operations to effectively mitigate long-term service disruption to our customers.

There are a number of key factors critical to ensuring business resilience in periods of critical disruption. Even at the best of times, Glad Group has extensive capability and operational flex to adapt and react quickly to rapidly evolving service conditions. With the COVID pandemic impacting all Australian and New Zealand business, we leaned heavily on our operational experience to work collaboratively with our customers to minimise service interruption, whilst ensuring both our customers and our people were safe.

Planning to develop the most appropriate response

As a cleaning, security, maintenance and guest services supplier, Glad Group implemented an immediate COVID Response Governance Committee to oversee all aspects of business operations and employee support. The Governance Committee was comprised of senior managers across the all-business divisions – with every manager representing our operations, customer needs and employee engagement.

Glad Group had to adapt its business activities to ensure a dynamic, flexible service response for our customers – maintaining supply chain and supporting staff members. As a business, we stayed true to our purpose: “We create safe places and welcoming experiences, every day”.

We reinforced our business continuity strategy and developed specific COVID-19 response plans. These plans helped us prepare, recognise, and respond to build a resilient business model. The objectives of our COVID-19 response plan were to:

  • Undertake site risk assessments.
  • Define and prioritise critical business functions.
  • Detail immediate response to a coronavirus outbreak.
  • Determine customer operational needs and quickly respond to changing service conditions.
  • Detail strategies and actions to be taken to enable business as usual function.

Working with our people

We recognise that the pandemic may have increased the impact on our people. In response, we have worked closely with our people and consulted with industry groups and peers to identify and address potential issues.

Specific actions we have undertaken:

  • Enabling the redeployment of workers to alternate assets or roles to mitigate the impact of workforce reductions.
  • Working with our people to facilitate job sharing within roles.
  • Supporting the return of people under the federal government’s Job Saver program.
  • Working with our people to utilise long service or annual leave.
  • Enabling teams to complete COVID-19 awareness training.
  • Working with our Labour Hire Partners to understand their circumstances and health measures, and to ensure employee safety and ongoing supply of services.
  • Continuing to implement scheduled award wage increases across our entire workforce.
  • Working with people to protect them from COVID-19, including the provision of personal protective equipment and availability of appropriate leave.

Caring for the wellbeing of our people

To further support our workforce, we delivered a robust COVID-19 Employee Internal Communications Plan with a focus on wellbeing and support. Our operations teams worked closely with our People and Culture department to effectively respond to government and customer mandates. This was essential to ensuring our employees were aware of decisions that directly impacted them.

Utilising our internal communication channels frequent updates were provided, keeping our people fully informed, particularly during the extended lockdown periods. We heavily promoted our Employee Assistance Program and introduced regular virtual town hall meetings and virtual social events to maintain connection and engagement with our operational teams.

We understood the resilience and wellbeing of our people was paramount to successfully navigating our new workplace world. They became part of the pandemic frontline, adapting to new ways of working to keep the communities they serve safe.

Working in partnership with our customers

Glad Group has been working over the past two years to develop initiatives and a service delivery model that challenges the current service paradigm and delivers dual and shared roles to reduce operating cost.

To truly transform legacy service practices, we engaged with our customers as partners and true collaborators, aligned to our “One Team, One Community” approach, we cross-trained our personnel so each member of our site service team held accountability to some degree for site presentation, hygiene, and safety.

We worked with our partners to effectively de-construct existing legacy KPIs, schedules and service agreements by looking to shift operational priorities and ensure service standards are maintained, but potentially shift a focus from detailing and presentation standards more towards sanitisation and customer well-being.

We are restructuring our focus to have our onsite service teams contribute to maintaining customer perception of quality, health, safety, and security at each site we look after.

In closing, Glad Group has been working hard to re-evaluate how our service industry connects and engages in a meaningful way, during and post COVID-19. We are supporting our customers with initiatives and a service delivery model that challenges the current service paradigm. Our goals are aligned, and we seek a customer experience service delivery model that delivers reduced operating costs.

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