“Patients are number one in healthcare. That’s why we’re here – to make sure the environment is clean and safe for them,” says Rozita Khamis, Assistant Director of ISS’s housekeeping teams at a top healthcare customer.
This may sound simple, but cleaning a hospital that treats over 1 million patients a year requires a highly coordinated team, with a strong sense of purpose and responsibility.
“I choose healthcare cleaning because I want to make a difference,” says Rozita. “I want my team to understand that we’re an important part of the patient journey. I ask them to think about the patient as a family member. If one of your family were staying in the ward, wouldn’t you want them to enjoy a clean environment?”
Fast reaction to COVID-19
Rozita joined ISS in 2016 after many years of working in the healthcare industry. Her experience makes a big difference.
“I explain to my team how to do things from the customer’s perspective. We need to be visible, and we need to be proactive. Our goal is to close any gaps before the day starts, and the hospital staff must be confident that everything is done correctly, so they can concentrate on their own work.”
This experience was essential when COVID-19 first reached Singapore. Rozita’s team had to react fast. General wards were converted to isolation wards; empty space was made available for patients; and completely new cleaning routines and workflows were introduced – all in a matter of days.
To ensure our teams were prepared and safe, they got refresher training in the use of PPE (personal protective equipment), infection control requirements, and procedure compliance. But, equally importantly, they also got the emotional support they needed from Rozita and the rest of the management team.
“The key was to make our people feel safe so they could do their jobs effectively,” says Rozita. “As leaders, we were on the ground with them and set up new routines to check on their health, such as temperature checks. Many people felt a little cut-off due to social distancing, so we set up a WhatsApp group where everyone could chat, ask questions and feel part of the team.”
Growing the team
A strong believer in the personal touch, Rozita knows every member of her team personally and wants everyone to have the chance to develop in their work. Typically, when asked about her greatest achievement at ISS, Rozita thinks about others – particularly the work she has done to nurture talent and leadership within her teams.
“Succession planning is very important to me. We’ve just promoted the second line of leadership. These are the future leaders of ISS at the hospital, and they are already approved by the customer. I’m so proud of them. They will give us consistency in our quality, services and relationships – which is so important for the team, the hospital staff and the patients.”