Reduce Turnover with your Cleanroom Staff Part 3: Effective Communication

Softwall-Gownroom.jpgIn the cleanroom, your staff must follow specific protocol to maintain product integrity and cleanroom compliance. Hiring quality people who are good for the job is just as important as maintaining quality staff. In parts one and two, we covered hiring and managing practices as well as compensation. Here we will discuss communication practices that will help managers engage and retain their staff.

Leadership communication revolves around 5 main areas. Some of these overlap with the conversations you should already be having with staff based on the last two topics.

  1. Obtain and give feedback. All updates about your company, from initiatives to new hires, should be communicated with everyone. It is very important that all staff is on the same page as the company in all respects – it lets the staff know they are important as well as creates unity in delivering your core objectives. Employees work harder when they know exactly why they (and you) are doing their jobs every day.

You also want to get feedback from employees about best practices, concerns, suggestions, and anything else they can contribute to the process or company. Employees who feel like they are heard and make a difference are happier than those who don’t.

Of course, feedback also includes giving praise and recognition.

  1. Provide objectives. You want to create specific, measurable job objectives and make sure employees fully understand them. Also, hold staff accountable for achieving them.
  1. Develop. Career development is a major factor in whether employees will seek outside employment. Determine what path each employee wants to take, what kind of potential each has, and discuss the real possibilities with each person.
  1. Motivation. This coincides with non-monetary compensation we discussed in the last article. Find out what rewards, incentives, and environmental qualities motivate each employee to go the extra mile. When you do use an incentive, make notes on how effective it was.
  1. Determine and work to their strengths. As mentioned in part 1: Hiring, knowing where your employees’ strengths lie, and then putting them in roles where they thrive will greatly improve your process. Certain parts of your operation come more naturally to some than others. By matching jobs to people based on strengths, the job gets done better and faster, and employees are happier. According to The Gallup Organization, these strengths are the #1 predictor of success.

With effective communication, proper compensation, focused management, and deliberate hiring, you can build and retain the best staff possible. Remember, making these changes can take time, but will pay off in the end with productivity, job satisfaction, and minimized stress for you and your staff.

If you need certification or validation for your cleanroom, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We are experts who can help you succeed. Call 888-628-0056 or email

Reduce Turnover with your Cleanroom Staff Part 2: How to maximize productivity and keep your talent

There are a lot of industries really struggling to attract and retain talented employees. With this challenge has come some new approaches to hiring and managing staff. Last week, we discussed a few things to consider during the interview to hire the right people. We also looked at the best way to divide attention between employees to improve productivity. Here we will look at what kind of compensation motivates employees.

While monetary compensation is an important issue, people are motivated by more than just money. Here are some guidelines about both matters:

The paycheck

The pay you offer has to be fair and competitive, but overshooting the mark can actually result in weaker focus, creativity, problem solving, and innovation. Don’t believe me? Can you think of anyone who is high up the ladder, gets paid handsomely, and does as little work as possible to keep his or her job? Set your salary benchmark at or above the market rate. Discuss with employees what they feel is adequate compensation for their work. Be fair, and be aware of what “fair” means to your employees.

Other “currency”

The other kind of compensation – that which more greatly affects retention – is focused on support, environment, and perception. Individuals vary in what motivates each the most, but some of these factors are:

  • Feeling appreciated
  • Feeling heard
  • Feeling like they make a difference
  • Trusting and respecting superiors as well as the company itself
  • Feeling trusted and respected by colleagues
  • Knowing they have room to grow and move up in the company
  • Having the freedom to do their best every dayIt is important for employees to know his or her own motivators. It is also important for managers to know individual motivators, and the only way to find out is to talk to the staff.

Talking to the staff seems like a no-brainer, but managers often don’t do it enough or effectively. Next week, we will go over some best practices for effective communication with employees. In the meantime, find out what motivates everyone and evaluate how well you’re delivering. If your employees like their jobs, support your company, and feel important, they will work harder and better for you every day.

If you need certification or validation for your cleanroom, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We are experts who can help you succeed. Call 888-628-0056 or email

Reduce Turnover with your Cleanroom Staff Part 1: How to hire and where to focus your energy

Softwall-Gownroom.jpgFinding and retaining talented staff is important in any industry, but in a controlled environment, your staff really makes or breaks your success. Even after you find a person who is right for the job, you still need to ensure he or she is happy enough to remain productive and interested in the role long-term. In this series, we will cover tips on how to find the right people, keep them engaged, and minimize turnover. Let’s start with hiring and working appropriately with your talent.


The first step, obviously, is to hire the right person/people for the job. How are you at choosing people who fit? There are several things to include in your interview process to spike your chances of picking the right candidate:

  • Don’t just find a fit for the job duties. Write out the mental requirements, habits, and expectations that your ideal candidate would have and base questions around those.
  • Don’t just ask what each interviewee would do in a situation. Ask for examples of past action.
  • Ask your most valued employees to describe the job. Also assess their personalities. What is it that makes them so accomplished? Use these answers to find out who your candidates are.
  • When possible, don’t focus as much on experience as you do on ability to learn and likelihood the person will be happy in the role. You can miss out on a really great employee because you weren’t willing to train someone to be amazing.
  • Ask interviewees what makes them happiest in a job. Is that what this job offers?
  • Find out who your most intuitive hiring managers are. Is there someone in your company who has made better hires or who has “called it” correctly when people succeed or fail? That may not just be luck. Some people have an unexplainable, superior sense about potential or new employees. Let them weigh in heavily on your hiring decision.

Focus appropriately

You’re going to have employees who will be difficult to replace, those who need a lot of help, and those in the middle who could go either way. Often times, managers devote most of their attention to the ones who need a lot of help. While managers should mentor their employees, this approach creates a huge problem.

Focus more on the people at the top – develop them to be their best. They will encourage the middle group be more productive. (So will the example you set that being on your game is rewarding.) The top employees can also train the ones who need more help.

If you’re constantly putting out fires, your job will be exhausting. You will be too drained to do the rest of your job at your best. Recruit help and perspectives from the employees who excel at their jobs. Delegate mentoring to other qualified staff (but don’t put too much on their plate.) They will also have a better understanding of what those “in need of help” people are really going through.

Of course, just like you should promote deserving people, you should let go of people who just need to move on. There are times when all the training in the world won’t bring talent, happiness, or compliance to an individual. Do what is best for both of you.

Next week, we will cover compensating your employees – and not just monetarily – for greater productivity. If you need certification or validation for your cleanroom, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We are experts who can help you succeed. Call 888-628-0056 or email

Onsite Cleanroom Laundry Facilities

Softwall-Gownroom.jpgCleanroom garments are an integral part of any controlled environment. For some, hiring a laundering service is the most efficient way to get these garments clean. For others, having onsite laundry facilities is the best answer. If you decide to clean your own cleanroom garments, here is what you need to know.

Cleanroom Washers & Options

Ultimately, the type of washer and features you choose will depend on your cleanroom class. Over any information you read here, make sure you consult with the appliance manufacturer or expert to ensure the one you choose meets your needs.

Most cleanrooms use split pocket washers. The inner cylinder is divided into two compartments to allow for easier loading and unloading. You can separate your contents by which dryer each will go into and lump each dryer load into its own washer pocket.

A pass-through, or side loader, washer allows you to load soiled garments into one side and unload clean garments on the other. This eliminates worry about exposing the cleanroom to soiled garments.

Front-load washers are commonly used for class ISO 6 and higher. Cleanrooms with these washers need to have fast recovery rates. Soiled linen must be brought in via a covered laundry cart.

If your washer is not installed on the lowest (ground) level, you need to install a soft-mount washer. These don’t require a thick, reinforced, isolated concrete pad, so they are easier to install.

No matter your washer, you will have more options to choose from to make it the ideal machine for your specific needs:

  • • Electropolishing. This enhances the surface by making it smooth and shiny, thereby minimizing areas where particles, chemicals, and bacteria can be trapped. While expensive, it does remove all surface contaminants, eliminates oxidation, and leaves an easy-to-clean smooth surface. This is recommended for class ISO 3 and 4.
  • • Dimpled Cylinder Perforations. These cylinder perforations are embossed, or dimpled, on the outside to prevent garments from contacting sharp edges of the cylinder perforations.
  • • Variable Speed Drive. Ideally, you want to use the highest extraction speed that won’t damage the fabric. With variable speeds, you can adjust the g’s used for different materials, which is especially important for ESD garments. You’d want to use a microscope to examine for nicks, tears, and stress marks when unloaded.
  • • Auto Weighting. The amount of chemicals and water used for each load depends on the weight of the garments. With auto weight, the ratio is calculated for you. Also, this simplifies even loading of compartments. Some washers can also adjust the size of the cylinder to match the load size.

No matter what washer you choose, look for bearing housings designed to release excess lubrication outside the bearing housing. Washers’ main bearings require regular lubrication, and you don’t want the lubricant to squeeze past the seals and into the washer.


Cleanroom Dryers

Up to 80% of particles are removed in the dryer, and most of them during the cool-down. Therefore, the cool-down cycle will be extended in a cleanroom dryer. Cleanroom dryers provide clean air via HEPA, ULPA, or VLSI filters. Drying time decreases as washer extraction speed and time are increased. Depending on the extraction speed of the washer and the amount of cool-down time required, loads take between 20 and 40 minutes to dry. When the supply air is cold or humid, drying time will also increase.

Here are some of your options for cleanroom dryers:

  • • Air Sample Port. Here, the loading door provides access to the interior of the dryer cylinder. Garments can never be cleaner than the air flowing through the dryer, so a particle counter can be used to measure the air quality. You may also want an air sample port at the downstream side of the HEPA filter.
  • • Hinged Center Front Panel for Cleanout. With these, the inside of the dryer must be kept clean, especially for ISO 3-5 cleanrooms. Normal airflow stops when the dryer stops, and random pulses happen, freeing particles inside the dryer. This will contaminate the garments being dried.
  • • Two-stage Blower. This helps with the problem mentioned above by maintaining airflow at a minimum cfm. It almost eliminates contamination from random air currents at the end of the drying cycle when the blower would normally shut off.
  • • Turbo Box. This mounts to the discharge of the dryer’s outer shell and connects to the inlet of the blower. Air velocity is maintained to eliminate particle drop-out, so you don’t have to clean the lint compartment from the cleanroom side.
  • • Pressure Gauge. This goes across the filter assembly. With the HEPA filter mounted above the dryer, the pressure drop should be read from floor level and read weekly.
  • • Ionization System. This neutralizes static electricity that otherwise holds particles to fabric and fabrics together. With an ionizer, particles are released. This option is common for ISO 3-4 dryers.

Above all else, remember that you need a first-class filtration system that is clean, air-tight, and particle-free. Once you have your washer and dryer specs determined, maintain close communication between the cleanroom design engineer and the process engineer. You want to optimize process flow, material handling, quality control, and cleanroom design.

If you have questions about validation, certification, or construction of cleanrooms, contact the experts at Gerbig Cleanrooms: 888-628-0056;

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