Company culture is important. Find and retain custodial team cleaning members that reflect who you are and how you do business.

One of the most important yet difficult things about owning a cleaning company is recruiting custodial team cleaning members who fit with your image and philosophy. No matter how talented or qualified a candidate may be, if they don’t share your vision, they probably aren’t going to work out very well. The key to employee hiring and retention is putting together a staff that blends in with your corporate culture.

The task is a daunting one. How do you find people who have the skills you need and see your business more or less the way you do? In short, it takes patience, thoroughness, attention to detail, and as with anything else in the cleaning business, a whole lot of elbow grease.

Know what you want

The first and most important step in finding custodial team cleaning members who line up with your mission is to know what your mission is. Who are you as a company? Who do you want to be? How do you want your customers to see you? What sets you apart from other cleaning companies? Just as your personal identity is a huge part of what makes you unique, so also does your corporate culture differentiate your business from someone else’s. If you don’t know your identity, it’s going to be difficult to find people who fit with it.

Whether you’ve thought much about identity or not, make a list of what makes your company what it is. Then, sit down and make a list of qualities or traits that employees who would do well at your business should possess. Once you have both of those, you’re ready to start recruiting.

Ask a lot of questions

Once the resumes start coming in, you’ll need to be thoughtful about the questions you ask candidates. You’re not only evaluating whether or not they’ll make a good custodial team cleaning member; you’re evaluating whether or not you want them to perform work as a representative of your company.

Beyond skill sets, find out what motivates them, what deters or distracts them, what interests them and what bores them. Be careful, of course, not to ask any illegal questions, like things having to do with family or beliefs. Beyond that, however, do your best to put together complete profiles of the people you’re interviewing.

In this business, it’s easy to want to hire the first seemingly-reliable person who comes through the door. After all, you have clients to serve, and if you don’t have employees to do it, you’ll be pulling on those rubber gloves yourself to ensure a job gets done. But recruiting is an investment. If you put the right time and effort into it, it will pay you back tenfold. If you skimp on it, you’ll always be chasing your tail, trying to retain talent that simply doesn’t fit in with your organization.

Do your due diligence

Unfortunately, not everyone is what they seem to be. When you find that great candidate, make sure you finish the process. Perform a criminal background check. Check references. Verify that the candidate doesn’t have a history of leaving jobs after a few months. Don’t let the formalities go by the wayside, because sometimes they uncover things that drastically alter your hiring decision.

On the flip side, if you do uncover something questionable during a background or reference check, confront the candidate about it before finalizing your decision. Sometimes there’s a rational explanation for a behavior or incident, and you don’t want to lose a good candidate to assumptions or a misunderstanding.

Retaining the talent you find

After all that hard work, it would be a shame to lose the talent you put so much effort into finding. Make your business a place where people want to work. Offer competitive benefits and wages. (If the national average for cleaners’ hourly rates is $10, can you push your rate to $13? Those few dollars an hour could save you thousands in overhead from backfilling positions.)

Communicate with your employees on a regular basis without an agenda—just asking how someone is doing goes a long way. Provide them the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs, so they don’t feel frustrated or set up to fail. The little things make a difference; pay attention to them, and you’ll have loyal custodial team cleaning members for a long time.