When last did you inspect your Company’s Bathrooms?

When last did you inspect your Company’s Bathrooms?

Oh, it is not my function!

Isn’t it? Do you think that something as important as that can really be outsourced to a cleaning company?

Reputation Risk is not something you can outsource, and the visual images that visitors see, can influence their impression of the company.

Very often next to the Reception area, the bathroom facilities is the first thing a visitor will go to. And, let me tell you, not all bathrooms are a place where you even want to take a child to. A Few weeks ago I made the mistake (or did the right thing) by going to the wrong bathroom facility. I went to the shop floor bathroom instead, and what I saw there was shocking.

No toilet seats, a blocked toilet, toilets in need of a desperate deep clean, broken window panes. Plan & simple, it was disgusting!

What do you think my opinion was of the management team? What do you think, I think about the company’s reputation?

In the Bible, there is a verse that basically says :’’If God cannot trust you in the small things, how on earth can he trust you in the big things’’

If reputation is about what you see, hear, feel and experience, then you’ve got it! I do not think much of them. How can I trust them in the big things, if I cannot even trust them not to violate a basic human right, i.e. The Right to Safety?

The other day I took two old-age pensioners to a Public Hospital in Roodepoort. They asked me to stop on the way at a Quick shop, because they had to buy their own toilet paper. I mean , here is two old-age pensioners, going to see the Doctor and the medical facility cannot even provide toilet paper. Is that what they think of their customers?

Worldwide companies are instituting hand washing campaigns as an initial protection measure against the spreading of swine flu (South Africa has just had its first confirmed case). How on earth is companies going to influence this, when they cannot even provide a clean and hygienic bathroom facility for employees and visitors.

Take a look at the worst example I had ever seen in my life. This is from a factory floor.


PriceWaterHouseCoopers found in one of their studies that Compliance failure is one of the leading causes of Reputation Risk. In South Africa, companies are not paying enough attention to complying with the Occupational Health & Safety Act , which contains a detailed section on Health & Hygiene.

So what can you do about this:

1. Be kind. Use your mobile phone, take pictures and send it to management and not the Media or The Department of Labour.

2. Call your Health & Safety representative and point out the conditions, so that they can report it to the Health & Safety Committee.

3. Take a good look next time when you go to the loo. Ask yourself, is this a place where a visitor can take his kid to?

To those in management, it is a time to realise that the responsibility for basic cleanliness and hygiene cannot be outsourced. Today staff and customers have camera equipped mobile phones, with which they can do damage.

After all, who wants their reputation ruined, because of a shabby loo.