A high rate of turnover is bad for any business, but in the cleaning industry, the turnover rates are astronomical. On the staffing side, a high rate of employee turnover means more money spent on finding, interviewing, and hiring talented candidates. Many people understand the monetary cost of turnover, but what about the time it costs you? The average time that it takes to fill a position is hovering around a month and, according to a study from Indeed in 2015, if a job isn’t filled within the first 30 days, there is a 57% chance that the job will remain open for at least 3 months or more. Those statistics are even higher now! Voluntary employee turnover comes with less warning, making it much harder to find a replacement in that 30-day window. Additionally, any amount of turnover can be demoralizing for the employees who remain – not only did the last person leave them with more work to do, but the vacancy also reminds them that there are other options out there!
While turnover is costly and disruptive for your cleaning operations, it’s just as bad for your customer relationships. If one of your customers is accustomed to working with their “solution provider” (i.e. your employee) and has for some time, there may be some dependence on that person as an integral part of their business workflow. So, if that employee disappears, they may be thrown for a loop. If the employee they work with continues to change every few weeks or months, it doesn’t allow for the customer to form a deeper business relationship with any of your company representatives or your company. If employee retention is so closely related to client retention, how do you handle the whole process? It starts at the beginning. Here are 5 ongoing strategies to keep your employees AND your clients happy:
1. Retention Starts with Recruiting
Whether it’s the physical application you provide a potential hire, the content on your company’s website, or the cultural aspects you choose to emphasize in the interview process, your focus on retention should come before a person is hired. Your goal is to find and keep the best hires for your business, not temporarily fill a need in your staff. It’s a domino effect: if a potential hire can see that your focus is on the long term, they’ll more seriously consider the possibility of working for you. If hired, that focus will remind them to remain loyal in the face of issues or hard times. And if they’re committed to remaining loyal, that will influence the customers they work with to do the same.
2. Your Staff Needs Advancement
Ongoing training and education are necessities, especially in the ever-changing cleaning industry, but your staff also needs to see a clear path to advancement, in whatever way works for your business. Of course, promotions or rewards go together with the amount of training an employee retains, and all of that is dependent on the size and structure of your company. But if an employee feels valued and included, it will push them to strive for more. If your customers see that positive forward motion, it will confirm that they’ve made the right choice in partnering with you.
3. Be Transparent
There is a hierarchy in any business, even if it’s not structured well, and boundaries are needed to maintain any kind of order in a work setting. But as the owner or manager of a cleaning company, your people need to see that you’re approachable and committed to improvement. Open-door policies, brainstorming sessions, and team building activities are all ways to ensure good, solid employee/employer communication. In turn, if you’re transparent with your customers (to a professional extent), then they should be the same as you. By allowing open communication and accepting feedback from your clients, you will retain solid, long-lasting relationships with devoted customers.
4. Identify Employee Motivators
Motivation is one of the best tools to fight turnover. If your staff is motivated and engaged, they’ll experience a higher level of job satisfaction, they’ll perform at a higher level, and they’ll stay longer than those staff members who aren’t engaged. While advancement options are always motivators, the best way to motivate your staff is to acknowledge when they do a great job. Although you may have some ideas about rewards, you may want to ask your team for their opinions. Again, your staff will influence your clients, positively or negatively, so if you’re focused on keeping your people happy, they’ll be focused on keeping your clients happy.
5. Conduct Performance Reviews & Exit Interviews
Like asking about motivating factors, the only way you’re going to really know what’s working for your staff and what isn’t is by asking them and truly evaluating what they say. Performance reviews don’t have to be tedious – they should be structured, organized, and continual. If you only review your staff members when something bad happens, it will decrease morale and work against you. Along with performance reviews, the best way to know why someone leaves your company is by asking them – conducting exit interviews may be uncomfortable, but if your staff understands that it’s an intentional part of your employment process, they’ll hopefully take the interview seriously and give you some constructive feedback. If you really want to think outside the box, you can do the same thing for your clients. If they decide to stop doing business with you, provide them with an exit survey or meet with them personally so they can provide feedback.
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If you want to increase employee (and client) retention but you’re not sure how to improve what you’re already doing, contact us at Janitorial Manager. Our business management software program can help you keep all aspects of your business organized, which will leave you with more time to commit to your staff and your clients. Give us a call or schedule a free demo today!