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By Harrell Kerkhoff, Maintenance Sales News Editor

Maintaining a solid workforce over the past two-plus years has been described as “difficult at best.” The COVID-19 pandemic added to what was already a stressed low unemployment situation in different parts of North America and the world. It has left many company owners and top management personnel asking the same question while looking for new recruits: “Where did everybody go?”

It’s during such trying times that learning about, understanding and following through on key steps for better employee retention is critical. Providing information on the topic, during a recent presentation, was Liz Trotter, a frequent speaker on employee relationships and retention. She is also the owner of American Maid Cleaning ( and Cleaning Profit Builders (

Trotter provided a “Top 10 List” that owners/managers can focus on to help their companies build a stronger, and more engaged, workforce. She noted the list does not contain any information that is groundbreaking. Rather, it re-enforces what is important to employees — building on their hopes and desires — and adding to the likelihood that they will remain at, and grow, within a business.

“As a company leader, it’s important to utilize areas that will have the most impact when it comes to retaining employees,” Trotter said. “It’s important to recognize the following.”

• No. 1 Employees Have The Power — “Employees are the ones driving ‘the ship,’ and that is not a terrible thing. In fact, it’s awesome. Why? If they (employees) want, and are willing to accept that power, you (as company owners and managers) can use their desires for power for your benefit,” Trotter said. “If your employees want to be the face of the company, then they will also be willing to promote your company.”

She added business owners and managers must seek ways to be creative when it comes to taking advantage of employee power.

“If it’s true employees have the power, then it’s important to make sure you have the right people and programs in place, helping your employees wield that power for good,” Trotter said.

• No. 2, Employees Want Respect — “That may seem like ‘a no brainer,’ but it can be tricky. Why? Because ‘respect’ is a mindset. People have different ideas about respect,” she said. “What I think is respectful may not mean the same to another person. Different things come to mind when it comes to being respectful. There is no universal answer. What does respect look like at your company?”

Possible answers include allowing employees to provide input, giving them a voice within a company and providing acknowledgement for work that is well done.

“It’s always important to talk with your people to find out what they feel is respectful,” Trotter said.

• No. 3, Employees Want A Living Wage — “Haven’t employees always wanted a living wage? Of course, but it’s important to recognize changes that are taking place in the workplace as it relates to new living wage demands,” Trotter said.

She explained that people today have greater access to information, such as through social media, when it comes to living wage demands. As a result, more people are part of a dialogue seeking better compensation.

• No. 4, Employees Want To Matter — It’s common sense that people want to feel like they matter. As an employer or manager, the key is making sure steps taken in this area are more than superficial.

“It has to be personal. Just telling an employee ‘great job’ does not really go that far in helping the person feel like he/she really matters,” Trotter said. “How can you really make employees feel like they matter? By truly listening to what they say, including information about their personal lives. The end result is helping employees achieve something outside of their working life which, in turn, can help them stay better connected to your company.”

• No. 5, Employees Want Meaning In Their Work — Low self-esteem among employees is a real issue. By nature, people want to feel like they make a difference and that what they are doing has true meaning — no matter their type of work.

“Employees want to know their self-worth. Helping an employee understand his/her ‘meaning’ can make a big difference in that person’s self-worth and overall life,” Trotter said. “When it comes to employees, show how they are making a difference at your company, because in reality, they do when it comes to business growth and taking care of customers. ‘Meaning’ is powerful.”

• No. 6, Employees Want To Be Inspired — A key element in leadership is to be inspirational. The problem is, doing so all of the time is difficult.

“As company leaders, you get busy, you get tired and sometimes you can forget to be inspirational, despite the fact that people need to be inspired. They want to be inspired. They love to be inspired,” Trotter said. “Inspiration can lead to greater employee commitment toward your company. Inspiration matters. You have to ask, ‘How can I inspire?’”

One example of inspiration in the workplace that Trotter shared was that of leaders who show how to best work with customers, even in difficult situations.

“It can be very inspiring to watch somebody handle a problem very well,” she explained. “The same is true when employees watch company leaders properly interact with clients.”

Discussing future company goals and projections can also be very inspirational.

“The future can hold a lot of power. All doors are open when addressing the future,” Trotter said. “It an be very inspiring to talk about what a company is planning to do to make the future brighter for its employees and the entire business.”

• No. 7, Employees Want Excellent Training — As a rule, good employees seek out better training in order to correctly do their work.

“It’s a lot harder to succeed at work if you are not properly trained. Most employees understand that, and thus look forward to receiving the right type of training,” Trotter said.

Proper training can also help employees take greater pride in their work.

“It all ties together. Training can lead to better employee retention and fewer turnover issues,” she said.


The final three points of Trotter’s “Top 10 List” specifically focused on leadership interaction with employees, with the goal to building stronger retention rates.

• No. 1, Leaders Need To Listen More — Listening is a skill many people feel they have, but in reality, often lack.

“Listen to the whole person, not just the words that he/she speaks. Communication is more than what is actually spoken. It includes jesters and body language,” Trotter said.

She added the act of listening is also about understanding what truly motivates people to great heights, and then helping those people achieve those heights It helps to listen for people’s emotions, options and behaviors.

Company leaders also succeed in employee retention when they truly understand why people work for them and remain loyal to the company.

• No. 2, Leaders Should Understand The GWC Rating — In reference to the book Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, by Gino Wickman, Trotter discussed the importance of the GWC rating, which stands for: “Get It, Want It, and Capacity (To Do It).”

According to the book, one way to help a leader determine whether someone is in the right position at work, is to seek that employee’s GWC rating. During an evaluation, the leader must find out if that person “gets” what needs to be done, “wants” to do what needs to be done, and has the “capacity” to do what needs to be done.

The main objective of the GWC rating is to find employees who score a 25 or better.

“If you have such employees, do everything you can to keep them. If you don’t, they are going to take their high GWC rating elsewhere,” Trotter cautioned.

• No. 3, Leaders Must Understand HOW Is Not As Important. WHY Drives Engagement — As leaders, Trotter concluded, helping employees know “how” to do something isn’t as important as for them to understand “why” something needs to be done in the first place.

“‘How’ will eventually be decided. Focus on ‘how’ after ‘why’ is understood,” she said.

Golden Star Acquires Premier Mop And Broom

“Golden Star, a global manufacturer of a complete line of hard surface cleaning products, and an industry leader with over 114 years of manufacturing excellence, is pleased to announce its new business endeavor with Premier Mop and Broom, a West Coast manufacturer of cleaning products, with over 87 years of experience.

“Steve Lewis and Earl Julo, co-CEO’s/presidents of Golden Star, along with Tom Buckles, president & CEO of Premier Mop and Broom, will continue working together to utilize the strengths and advantages of both
organizations,” according to a press release.

“I admire Tom and the business he has built over so many years. It’s going to be exciting to be able to combine our 200-plus years of manufacturing experience with the mutual goal of providing our customers with unparalleled quality and service,” said Julo.

“Simply put, we believe both organizations have operated with the same core values, and bringing Tom on board with our company is a natural fit. We’re going to be able to maximize the customer experience and better succeed in an ever-changing marketplace,” according to Lewis.

“Moving forward, we plan to provide many new services and areas of expertise. In the short term, the main concern is to continue business as usual, providing the Golden Star and Premier products and brands as we always have,” said Buckles.

Gary Gradinger, Golden Star chairman, said, “We are very excited to welcome Tom Buckles to the Golden Star team. He brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to our organization, and by also joining the Golden Star board of directors, I’m quite certain he’ll prove to be an invaluable and long-term
asset to our company.”

For more information on Golden Star’s full line of hard surface cleaning products, contact, call 800-821-2792, or visit

Spartan Chemical Announces A New DfE-Certified Disinfectant

Bacteria and viruses found in public restrooms can cause odors and create an unsafe environment for building occupants. X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid is a ready-to-use disinfectant cleaner that also deodorizes and kills odor-causing germs.

Spartan Chemical Company, Inc., has announced the availability of X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid, a convenient and effective solution for removing bacteria and viruses in the restroom while leaving a fresh lavender fragrance.

“In 2009, the EPA established the Design for the Environment (DfE) antimicrobial pesticide program — recognizing disinfectant products that have the least hazardous toxicity, is unlikely to cause adverse effects to health, and does not require agency mandated personal protective equipment (PPE). Spartan Chemical has long been a participant in this program, and is pleased to introduce a new product which has been certified to carry this seal.

“X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid cleans and disinfects restroom surfaces, removing tough stains caused by urine and hard water. Bacteria and viruses found in public restrooms can cause odors and create an unsafe environment for building occupants. X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid is a ready-to-use disinfectant cleaner that also deodorizes and kills odor-causing germs,” according to Spartan.

“Spartan is a proud supporter of the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Standard. X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid is formulated with citric acid and other environmentally preferred components to comply with the current standard for K-12 school districts and higher education institutions,” said John Swigart, president, Spartan Chemical Company. “Ultimately, our goal at Spartan is to make cleaning simple, with products and training programs that keep building occupants healthy.”

The company said, “Featuring the popular Xcelenté® fragrance, X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid is a perfect complement to Airlift® Ultra Fragrant Urinals Screens and Commode Clips. Avoid clashing and competing scents in the restroom with the Xcelenté® common scents program featuring X-EFFECT® Restroom Cleaner with Citric Acid.

A U.S. employer, Spartan formulates and manufactures high quality products from its state-of-the-art facility in Maumee, OH, and sells both domestically and internationally through a select network of distribution.

Visit for more information.

Assistant Operations Manager
Rachel Steele

Nexstep Announces Promotions

Nexstep Commercial Products, exclusive licensee of O-Cedar, announces Rachel Steele has been promoted to assistant operations manager in Paxton, IL, reporting to the general manager.

She joined Nexstep in 2005, and has worked in a variety of positions in the company, most recently human resources and accounts payable. In her new position, she will assist the general manager in all aspects of managing the facility in Paxton, IL.

Human Resources/
Accounts Receivable
Beth Spencer

Steele attended Parkland Community College, and she lives at Lake Iroquois with her husband and two children.

She can be reached at 217-379-2377, ext. 242, or

Nexstep has also promoted Beth Spencer to human resources/accounts receivable. She joined the company in 2020 as an accounts receivable associate.

She now provides support and facilitates the company’s human resources functions and processes in its Springfield, OH, location. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Governors University.

She can be reached at 937-322-5163, ext. 101 or

The United Group Welcomes Kim Foster And Mark Prosser

The United Group (TUG) has hired Kim Foster as vice president of member & supplier relations and Mark Prosser as vice president of sales — strategic accounts. Both have extensive experience, and will strengthen and propel TUG, further instilling the organization as a leader regarding member-owned sales and marketing for independent B2B distributors of jan/san, packaging, food service, and safety products and equipment.

Apart from planning the conference each year, Foster will be predominately responsible for keeping in touch with members on both the supplier and member stockholder sides, developing those relationships, and making them feel welcome.

Foster said, “The enthusiasm and team atmosphere that TUG promotes is what impresses me the most, and makes me want to be a part of the TUG team. It’s been a lot of fun creating some synergy with the TUG staff and developing relationships with our members and suppliers.”

Foster brings nearly 27 years of experience in the jan/san industry. She has worked with various organizations within the industry.

“Because I’m already familiar with buying groups and what their functions and goals are, it’s now a matter of learning a new language and determining the best strategy to apply my experience to make all of those same things happen for TUG,” she said. “I look forward to expanding my knowledge in the food service and packaging markets, and finding ways to serve our members best.”

As vice president of sales — strategic accounts, Prosser is responsible for helping TUG drive national business and strategic accounts, including GPOs. He will also work with preferred suppliers to develop various initiatives, among other efforts. He is specifically focused on healthcare GPOs, as healthcare is a channel that TUG is looking to grow to help current members succeed.

Before joining TUG, he worked for multiple organizations over his 35-year career in the jan/san industry. He has experience in all industry angles, including the distribution, supplier, and buying group sides.

“In the current climate of acquisitions and consolidations, TUG stands out as the best available buying/marketing group alternative to successfully navigate the next decade and beyond,” he said. “The strong member and supplier bases in jan/san, foodservice, packaging, safety and office products really set us apart as the ideal business partner for independent distributors.”

With a rich history and a start-up mentality, TUG looks to hire people with a fresh perspective, a collaborative mindset, and a sense of relentless drive. According to Ty Huffer, president of The United Group, Kim and Mark are very well respected and bring tremendous industry knowledge.

“Our goal at TUG is to bring more value to our member stockholders and suppliers. I feel that the attributes, including the knowledge Kim and Mark have accumulated and the relationships they have built over the years, are going to help us achieve those goals,” Huffer said. “We have a lot of new programs and new opportunities that we are going to be presenting, and they will be driving forces behind getting us to where we need to be in 2022.”

The United Group® (TUG) members recapture profits by earning rebate dollars on their purchases from United Group Preferred Suppliers.

“Members are diverse in size and longevity, yet united in their common desire to be more profitable and more effective in their respective endeavors,” said TUG.

For more information, visit

Drop In Mask Mandates Increases Need For Air-Purifying Systems

“As states drop mask mandates, some organizations are concerned government officials are moving too fast.

“To address this, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, these organizations are selecting advanced, disinfecting air-purifying systems for their facilities.

“Traditional air-purifying systems have internal fans that pull air through filters. The filters remove dust, soils, and contaminants from the air and circulate cleaner air back into the room,” according to a press release.

According to Jenna Riffer, representative of LuxDisinfect Air Purifiers, a manufacturer of this technology, advanced disinfecting air purifiers go further.

“At least one advanced air purifying system has HEPA filters capable of capturing particulate matter with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers with a 99.99 percent disinfecting efficiency.

“How small is 2.5 micrometers? That’s about 3 percent the diameter of a human hair.”

She added, “Along with being able to capture the pathogen that causes COVID-19, these systems can filter out other harmful particulates found in indoor air.

“Some systems use ULC technology. This technology effectively eliminates (kills) bacteria, germs, and pathogens found in indoor air.”

Elkins School District, in Elkins, AK, is one of many school districts using such air purifying systems.

Jeremy Mangrum, the district’s superintendent, reported, “The devices have worked flawlessly from the time we put them in classrooms. We have seen very low COVID numbers in our district, and no student-to-student infections have been detected.”

An urgent care/laser skin care center in Tuscaloosa, AL, also uses the LUX system.

“I have one system running all the time in my waiting room,” said Dr. Jeff Parker, with the Northport Urgent Care and Laser Skin Care Center. “It helps us ensure good air quality in our facility, offering our patients and staff this added protection.”

Even though mask mandates are coming down, some public health officials believe we will be living with the coronavirus for years to come. With this in mind, Riffer said, “Keeping indoor air clean and purified is one of the best options we have to keep people safe and healthy.”

For more information, visit

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In the
Mar/Apr 2022
print issue
of MSN


• Paper & Wipes
& Liners

• Restaurant Equipment
& Supplies

• Carpet Care

• Odor Control
& Equipment

• Restroom Products

• Mats & Matting

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