A Darlington-based cleaning services company - MJF Cleaning Services - has been short-listed for a national award. The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) People Management Awards recognise outstanding achievements in workforce development and how it has impacted on business success. Categories include 'consultant of the year', 'diversity' and 'supplier of the year', with MJF making it through to the finals in the 'SME HR initiative' category.
MJF managers will now present to a panel of judges before finding out if it is the overall winner. Other organisations short-listed for the awards include British Airways, Centrepoint, Asda, British Gas, Barclays and Ask Italian.
MJF was short-listed for its 'Focus on our people' project, an ongoing project to nurture staff and grow the workforce, which has seen the company invest in a specialist HR team.
As a result, the new HR staff have begun rolling out a number of initiatives as part of the project, including appraisals, staff newsletters, options to study for industry qualifications and the Employee Appreciation Award scheme to reward staff through incentives.
So far, over half of MJF's 100-strong workforce has registered to study for a cleaning and support services qualification and many are benefiting from incentives such as gym memberships.
Darlington entrepreneur, Martin Ferguson, established MJF Cleaning Services in 2006 whilst working as a domestic window cleaner and the company is currently undergoing a period of expansion which could create around 80 new positions in the coming year. Plans are also in place to open a new office in the north west in 2014.
Since starting with just two members of staff in 2006, MJF has gone on to create around 125 jobs as it secured contracts with companies such as Narec, Rockliffe Hall, Shepherd Construction, JD Wetherspoon, Cleveland Cable and Tolent Construction.
As well as daily office, commercial and specialist industrial cleaning services, MJF carries out large and small scale cleaning projects such as carpet and upholstery cleaning, window and high-level cleaning and clean-downs on construction sites ahead of handovers to clients.
Martin Ferguson said: “Our 'Focus on our people' project is all about making the team realise that they are the vital cog in the company's wheel. Communication is key for us so we're always talking to staff about their role, how they'd like to develop and how we might help them. Feedback is vital in any business so this system is working well and our staff retention rates are good. We're really proud to be recognised by the CIPD nationally as they're a very high profile organisation with exceptional standards. Often the cleaning industry has a bad reputation for having a disposable workforce with poor HR practices which is so far removed from MJF's ethos. It is great to be honoured in this way, even if we don't go on to be eventual winners.”