Many companies struggle to tackle issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion. Of course, there are protections for various minority groups in law. But that doesn’t stop people feeling excluded when at work by people making assumptions about who they are. Creating a truly inclusive working environment can be a challenge but there’s a power in diversity. After all, we pride ourselves on being different from other cleaning companies in our approach to our staff. In our latest blog looking at ethical cleaning, we focus on workforce diversity.  

Planning for a diverse workforce 

Our workforce comes from a variety of divergent backgrounds and cultures – at the time of writing, for example, 20 different nationalities are represented in our team. We’ve always seen that as an advantage. It allows Fidelis to have a wide range of perspectives and means we accurately reflect the communities and environments in which we work. Even on a practical level, having a workforce made up of people with different motivations, schedules and lifestyles helps us to be flexible, and to provide our clients with all-day and all-night coverage. 

As well as the many different nationalities represented here, we have what we consider to be a healthy balance between genders – 267 female and 156 male employees – and employ people of all working ages: 4.33% of our workforce is over 65 and 1.82% is under 18, for example, and the rest of the team is well balanced across the age groups, with a slight lean towards those aged 40-64. 

Workforces don’t always become or stay diverse without thought, so it’s up to us as an employer to maintain balance across our team. We know that people from all backgrounds and demographics have something great to offer Fidelis and its customers, so we’ll always do what we can to hire diversely and keep all our employees happy, motivated and feeling valued. At the hiring stage, we use blind CVs to avoid unconscious bias, for example, and use application forms that give candidates a chance to really express themselves and their motivations. After the hiring stage, we do our best to accommodate the various needs of all our staff – from being flexible around family commitments to recognising that some types of work we do might conflict with an employee’s cultural values. 

We realise too that diversity is an ongoing issue. It’s not something we’ve fixed, but rather an area in which we constantly need to be improving – that journey of improvement is something else to which we’re fully committed. 

Our commitment to professionalism and quality 

Of course, some aspects of the diversity we strive for mean we must be particularly responsive when bringing new staff onboard. For instance, many of our cleaning operatives speak English as a second language, so we must always ensure everyone has the right training to carry out their roles safely. This means we do everything from making sure all staff understand processes and schedules, to ensuring everyone interprets symbols on chemical bottles correctly.  

Since 2020, we’ve employed a workforce coordinator so that we can stay on top of all our human resources issues. We restructured our interviewing and induction processes, including right-to-work checks, to reflect the realities of post-Brexit workforce planning. We’ve certainly seen an increase in numbers of applicants who originally come from countries outside the EU. In cases where applicants don’t have the right to work in the UK, we’ve signposted them to the right service. And for existing staff, we keep records of visas and right to work documentation, so that we can proactively chase renewals and support our staff to reapply as necessary. 

Embracing workforce diversity that taps into talent 

This has helped to reduce turnover of our workforce, as well as supporting people who have built roots in our communities. After all, our colleague charter shows our commitment to the people who work for us. But it’s also something that our cleaning operatives can tell their friends and family about, in case they want to join our team too. Indeed, we’ve also been able to tap into migrant community links to build our own talent pool. In our West Midlands base, we recognise that migrant communities are often clustered in certain suburbs and locations.  

By building good working relationships with certain members of a community, we’ve developed a sense of belonging among our own workforce. For some of our bigger clients, our team forms a diverse community in its own right. One example is University College Birmingham (UCB), where our team of nearly 80 people comprises some 10 different nationalities. It also allows us to maintain a bank of temporary workers, who we can turn to when we have seasonal surges in cleaning demand. For instance, we’ll often need to complete end-of-tenancy cleaning at a large number of student properties with a one week turnaround. Our flexible teams who work on a more casual basis can respond quickly. 

People who care, people who clean 

Whether they’re with us on a permanent or more casual basis, we employ people properly as they’re needed. We don’t string our staff along on zero hours contracts; again, our colleague charter commits us to exacting standards. We always seek to understand an individual’s motivation to work with Fidelis, so they can fit in their work with their family circumstances. But it also means we recognise that certain people have unorthodox patterns of working. In fact, we thrive on that, as it allows us to provide 24-hour coverage when we need it. We also recognise that for cultural reasons, some people won’t do certain cleaning jobs, and we’ll always respect that.  

For us, our diverse workforce is a strength. It allows us to fit in with our clients’ needs, getting the right people who care about doing an excellent job. And it allows us to retain the best staff who can clean to the highest standards. As we always like to say, the difference is us.  

To find out more about Fidelis Group and our approach to workforce diversity, contact one of the team today. 

  • Telephone: 0845 431 0382 | 0121 289 3258 
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