Custodial and Grounds Services gets creative with staffing

Briayan Quinteros helps keep campus tidy by string trimming at NCRC.

Throughout the summer, Custodial and Grounds Services (CGS) met campus needs—and may have created a model for future years—by getting creative with staffing.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit campus and reduced operations, the need for custodial work was lower. This provided an opportunity to move some custodians over to Grounds to help with maintaining campus. 

CGS quickly put together a job description resembling a Groundskeeper I classification. Any takers could work for Grounds for the summer and get a small increase in pay. Tasks were limited to mainly weeding, mulching, picking up litter, emptying trash containers, and string trimming. A brief announcement went out to the department seeking volunteers. Within a week, there were 35 custodians lined up to move over to Grounds.

The obvious benefit to this arrangement was to provide labor where it was needed most, but there have been other benefits as well:

  • Since the custodians were already full-time staff, the transition took less effort, allowing Grounds Specialists to focus on their springtime work instead of finding and hiring 70 new temporary employees as in past years. 
  • The custodians are already part of the positive F&O culture. Understanding the principles of being respectful, collaborative, solutions-based, and proactive made the transition quick. The training was seamless and efficient. 

Jim Hicks, a Grounds Services supervisor who has had four custodians on his team this summer shares, “I’ll miss having the custodians here. All of them were incredible!”

This creative staffing solution has been so successful that CGS is already discussing how to roll this into an annual program with expanded training opportunities within Grounds as we continue to Make Blue Grow!