Most businesses dream of low staff turnover. While it’s more common in some industries than others, any company can improve its turnover rate by following best practices in recruitment and retention.
Why does turnover matter?
First, the cost of hiring new team members is much greater than that of keeping current staff. New employees require a significant investment of time and resources—from the cost of posting a position to the time it takes to sort applications, conduct interviews, train new team members, and fix mistakes (which often includes repairing broken equipment).
Beyond the obvious cost saving benefits, however, retaining good workers also has a positive impact on your customer relationships and, consequently, the health of your business. Clients don’t like seeing different faces in their buildings all the time or having to deal with inexperienced employees. They want thorough cleaning services provided by reliable, consistent, high-quality workers they can trust. And if you’re not able to provide that, they may start exploring other options.
If finding and keeping good employees is a struggle for your janitorial company, you’re not alone. Average turnover for the industry is about 200%, and it can get as high as 400% in some regions. These numbers can be extremely frustrating for companies who feel like it’s impossible to get ahead when they’re constantly looking for new staff.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce employee turnover for your janitorial business. In fact, intentionally pursuing these two tasks—refining your hiring process and investing in retention—can help make your turnover woes a thing of the past.
Refine your hiring process
Achieving lower turnover starts with hiring the best people for the job by:
- Understanding your ideal candidates
- Making it easy to apply
- Thinking like a marketer
Understand your ideal candidates
One of the best ways to improve your current hiring process is to spend time thinking about who your ideal candidates are.
Who would succeed in this role? You can jot down generic qualities like timeliness, professionalism, and integrity, but try to be specific as well. Is this job a good fit for someone who’s a night owl? An early bird? Is it perfect for students who need part-time work near a university?
If you’re not sure where to start, identify some of your most successful employees and talk to them first. Find out what they have in common and what makes the job a good fit for their lifestyle and interests. You can use this information to start building out profiles for your ideal candidates, which will help guide your recruitment efforts.
Make it easy to apply
Applying for jobs can be a tedious, confusing, and time-consuming process. To increase your pool of potential employees (and get ahead of the competition), make your job application as easy as possible to complete.
In fact, consider using a simple applicant screening form with just a few basic questions before asking someone to fill out a full application. Since this is much easier to complete, you’re more likely to receive submissions—plus you’ll be able to weed out unqualified applicants much sooner.
Think like a marketer
Companies often make the mistake of thinking candidates are the only ones who need to “sell themselves” during the hiring process. In an industry where demand for qualified workers continues to grow (the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth up to 12% through 2022), the reality is that job candidates have the freedom to choose an employer that puts in the effort to win them over.
To get there, it helps to think like a marketer. Instead of trying to reach prospective clients, your goal is to reach prospective employees.
You can do this by managing your reputation online, building a careers page on your website, visiting career fairs, posting on social media, and talking about what your company has to offer during interviews. Serious candidates will be drawn not just to more money but to a good benefits package, thriving company culture, and opportunities for advancement.
Invest in retention
Once you’ve got the right team members in place, keep them there by:
- Showing value
- Offering training opportunities
- Promoting work-life balance
One of the top reasons people leave their jobs is because they feel undervalued by their manager or company. They put in the work day after day, but it’s always the same. They’re not recognized for a job well done, asked for feedback, or offered opportunities for growth.
You can prevent this in your janitorial business by tracking performance and then offering public praise and recognition for good work. When you identify an employee who’s struggling, find out why and see if additional training or resources are necessary. By doing so, you’re showing you value the employee and his or her contributions to the team.
With the site audit tool in Aspire, you can regularly assess the completion and quality of work—allowing you to more easily evaluate team members’ performance and identify opportunities for recognition or improvement.
Offer training opportunities
When you’re confident you’ve hired the right cleaning staff, you won’t be afraid to invest in their training. And making the process as thorough as possible at the beginning helps prevent future mistakes that could be costly to address. It also helps your employees feel prepared and empowered to do their jobs well.
During training, try to focus on the “why” in addition to the “how.” Employees may be able to memorize a checklist or set of standards, but they’re more likely to buy into them (and not look for ways to cut corners) if they feel a connection to the work. Explain how policies are informed by your mission and values, and show the direct relationship between team members’ efforts and the company’s success.
Promote work-life balance
Promoting a healthy work-life balance for your employees doesn’t mean expecting less of them or lowering your standards. It’s just a recognition of the fact that each staff member has a life outside of work, and that they require adequate rest, understanding, and care to function at their best.
Encourage and model hard work, not excessive work. Overworking staff isn’t just frustrating for them, it can also lead to burnout that causes good team members to seek employment elsewhere.
When possible, try to consider life demands like child care and commute times when creating schedules and responding to requests for time off. Although you won’t always be able to accommodate every request, communicating empathetically can help staff feel better about your decision.
When labor is your number one cost, finding ways to maximize its ROI should be a top priority. Evaluating your current recruitment and retention strategies can reveal opportunities for growth, opening the door to reduced turnover and increased customer satisfaction.
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