Great employees are hard to find and even harder to keep. Avoid turnover by implementing best retention practices that will motivate and engage your cleaning staff.

Turnover rates in the janitorial services industry are notoriously high. Some estimates of turnover rates are as high as 400%, but even at a minimum, you can expect a 75% turnover rate, with the bulk of separations being voluntary. The cost of that attrition isn’t cheap, either—think along the lines of six to nine months worth of salary for each terminated worker through direct and indirect costs. When viewed in those terms, introducing best retention practices suddenly seems much cheaper than constantly replacing and retraining new hires.

The reality is that business owners often overlook best retention practices by mistake. It’s not that they don’t care about their employees; it’s just that they’re sidetracked by other business needs. However, since many employees don’t feel comfortable bringing up concerns or feedback without fear of retribution, it becomes a manager’s responsibility to address retention proactively by establishing best retention practices designed to keep teams engaged and motivated for years to come.

Best Retention Practices

If you build it, they will stay

Besides the obvious financial detriment, there are plenty of other reasons to want employees to stay (and stay happy). A rotating door of staff members creates a cycle in which you have to recruit, hire, train, and otherwise equip new employees, all of which takes on average three to six months. All that is time taken away from servicing clients—which translates to lost revenue for you.

With best retention practices in place, you’ll not only have employees who stay, but you’ll reduce the risk of things like theft, dishonesty, shoddy work, and otherwise disengaged staff members. The reason it works is that such practices demonstrate to your employees that, as much as you care about your business and your bottom line, you also care about them.

Best Retention Practices

How to keep them happy

So what do best retention practices look like? What keeps employees happy enough to reduce turnover rates? You might be surprised to learn the answer isn’t money. While compensation is a motivator, it’s a poor retention tool. If someone is unhappy with their job, more money will only keep them happy so long (and probably not as long as you might think).

Instead, best retention practices should focus on the employee’s professional and personal well-being, their professional development, relationships within the workplace, and overall sense of loyalty to their employer. There are many ways to address these issues, but to get you started thinking about it, below is a list of some of the best retention practices you can put in place today. Try out even just one of these for a month and see what a difference it makes:

1. Foster open communication and encourage feedback.

If your employees truly feel comfortable giving you their honest thoughts, they’ll be more likely to tell you when they’re unhappy. Give them an opportunity to provide feedback—even critical feedback—without fear of retaliation.

2. Avoid micromanagement.

Employees quit managers, not jobs. If you trust your employees, don’t breathe down their necks all the time. If you don’t trust your employees, then it might be time to reconsider the workforce you’ve hired.

3. Offer career training and guidance.

Whether internally or through a third party, having a training calendar or mentorship program helps an employee think about how to advance in his or her career. Providing such a service may seem self-destructive, but it’s the opposite. As an employee advances, they will feel more loyal to you for providing the opportunities, and if they move to another company, you’ll have sent a good ambassador into the world to speak good things about your business.

4. Ensure a healthy work-life balance.

We work to live, not the other way around. Make sure your employees have adequate time off, so they don’t get burned out.

5. Pay fairly.

It’s not always wise to lowball a new hire. People usually know what they’re worth, and to pay someone less than that can be tacky, at the least. Pay a fair market wage, give cost of living adjustments, and keep your compensation practices up-to-date, and you’ll have employees who feel cared for and respected.

6. Forge connections.

Much of the time, your teams are out in the field while you’re back at an office somewhere. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to interact in person. Host monthly events, even if just an office happy hour or something like that. Foster an environment where everyone feels connected to everyone else, and people will be less likely to want to leave it.

7. Give positive feedback.

It’s easy to tell someone what they’re doing wrong, but we often forget to tell people what they’re doing right. Engage employees by praising them for work done well. It builds their confidence in themselves, their trust in you, and their dedication to their work.

Anything you can do to keep good employees on your team will benefit everyone involved, including your customers and your bottom line.