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In a recent web event with Healthcare Purchasing News, Steve Egbert, an Environmental Services (EVS) leader with 25 years of experience, shared some of the strategies he’s learned that have helped him build great teams and enabled him to develop and maintain successful EVS programs.

Today’s EVS workers have to wear many hats. In addition to their traditional cleaning roles, their patient interactions help communicate the culture of their healthcare facility, and many are involved in epidemiology, chemistry, and finance discussions. 

Environmental Services teams also have one of the most important roles in the hospital, they are an integral line of defense to help prevent pathogen transmission. The rooms/areas they clean can’t just be visually clean, they have to be properly disinfected.

Here are a few of the key learnings Steve shared during his Q&A with Healthcare Purchasing News:

“Turn Every Stone and Think Outside the Box.” Aging staff and the results of the pandemic have had a significant impact on the EVS workforce. Healthcare facilities have had to find creative ways to fill EVS roles and highlight the path to career growth. Steve found success in reaching out to veterans and retirees who could work close to home and high school graduates who could take advantage of internships. They offered flexible schedules, workshops, and life skills courses too.

Create a Recognition program.” Find a way to recognize your team for their hard work.  It can be as simple as a handwritten note or certificate but these things go a long way toward retention and employee engagement. It’s an easy, thoughtful way to show that you’re connected and committed to your team. 

“Don’t be afraid to take risks. Try new things”. Be active, learn industry trends, and find ways to help your staff improve their cleaning process in the most efficient way possible. Steve empowered his staff to check their own work by using a product called DigiGlow. The product put markers in rooms before cleaning to help assess how well surfaces were being disinfected. He has also utilized the LightStrike UV disinfection robots in many disinfection programs over the past 10 years, saying they’ve helped them better disinfect against organisms that continue to evolve. 

Steve said, “Be open and be willing to do things differently.” Building a successful disinfection strategy and repeatable approach includes challenging yourself and not accepting the status quo. You have to Build every step into your program (human and technology) and execute to that standard every day. Be willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside your team – before you know it, you’ll see the impact of your disinfection strategy and the great team that has evolved as well. 

If you’d like to see the full Healthcare Purchasing News interview, click here

At Xenex, we feel every day is a good day to thank an EVS worker. We are grateful for the many disinfection program partnerships we have built with EVS teams around the world and have a true appreciation for the work they do. 

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