Housekeeping is a continuous process which requires an inspired team of people working with diligence and putting in efforts to tackle the most challenging cleaning chores.
One can easily understand the challenges of housekeeping and maintenance of an industrial facility which is spread over 5000 acres of land. Essar’s flagship company, Essar Oil’s Refinery at Jamnagar also known as the Vadinar Refinery, is the second largest refinery in the country. A team of dedicated housekeeping boys, whom we call as our frontline workforce, look after the upkeep of over 100 buildings, shop floors, common areas and 60km of roads in the refinery premise. Industrialists, investors and renowned refineries across the world who have visited the facility have appreciated the plant housekeeping and horticulture. In spite of being located remotely in Jamnagar with limited access, we have been able to set a benchmark of maintaining world class standards of cleaning.
The success story
Over a period of time, we observed that housekeeping services were gradually deteriorating. The staff engaged from different parts of the country, used to remain absent from duty at will and even resorted to undisciplined behaviour when confronted. The attrition rate gradually grew up to unmanageable levels and the services and the standards took a serious beating. After a brainstorming session and analysis of the root cause to this problem, we realised that lack of motivation coupled with remoteness of the location were leading the workers to irrational behaviour.
As a first step we started treating the boys as our own extended team and started engaging with them more meaningfully. We introduced a number of welfare measures and schemes over the past one year in this direction.
• Since April-2013, we have initiated “MILAN” or get together, where we reward and recognize the efforts of the well-performing boys and supervisors of the housekeeping teams in the presence of their colleagues. A senior executive from our refinery also joins the felicitation ceremony. We interact, play games with them and also hear their issues related to salary, PF, food, safety gears, accommodation and uniforms and resolve them.
• This two-hour event is something that they look forward to every month. It is at this event that the otherwise overlooked people get all the importance. It is from here that the team started getting motivated to perform. This programme concludes with light refreshments.
• We not only have housekeepers participate in the event but also other administration staff including catering, transport and housing maintenance teams.
• As a second step towards our aim in bringing about inclusiveness, we have started sporting events for contract workmen on a biannual basis. A happy work force with almost zero attrition has been hugely beneficial to us as they go on raising their bar of performance in their quest to get reward and recognition.
• As another welfare measure for the housekeepers, we have also created a training hall, whereby, we impart basic training on first-aid, PPEs usage and personal hygiene to the contract workmen. We call professional trainers to explain to them the modern techniques and innovations taking place in this field. This has immensely helped them understand the need for working safely, keeping the work environment clean & healthy and spreading educative message on health and safety, besides upgrading their own skills.
The resultant effort has been very encouraging
• There is a 360-degree change in the behaviour of the staff
• The attrition rate has gone down from an alarming 65% an year ago to an encouraging level of less than 5% now
• They are very punctual & well groomed
• A number of people are lining up to take up housekeeping jobs in spite of the locational disadvantage
Looking back, these initiatives have made each of them believe that they do make a difference and contribute in their own small way in our journey towards becoming the “world’s best refinery” which is the ultimate aim of our leadership Team.
Jt. General Manager
Essar Oil Limited, Jamnagar