Hiring a new cleaning provider or team member? Learn how you can avoid some of the most common hiring challenges.
A good cleaning provider is absolutely essential to the success of any business. From schools, to hospitals, to office complexes, an in-house cleaning provider is responsible for favorable first impressions. When customers walk into a lobby with trash on the floor and dusty counters, or go to the restroom only to find dirty sinks and no paper, they immediately think less of your organization.
It’s not just about looks, either. A competent cleaning team can reduce the risk of people spreading cold and flu viruses and can help your staff and your customers stay healthy. In some locations, like medical provider offices, the janitorial team is literally responsible for the health of patients and caregivers.
A lot is riding on hiring the right person or people for the job. And whether you run an in-house team and need to hire for a position, or you manage a facility and are looking to hire an in-house cleaning team, you’ll face similar challenges. Here are some of the most common challenges cleaning providers face and a few ideas on how to work around them.
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5 In-House Cleaning Provider Hiring Challenges and How to Manage Them
1. Certification. As an in-house cleaning provider, you may be subject to specific requirements and need certifications. This may be more the case in hospital or medical settings, but it may also be true in buildings with special flooring or LEED certification. Looking for someone with those particular qualifications may limit your field of candidates. In smaller locations, that could make it hard to find people. What can you do? One way is to hire someone and offer to train them. You could also offer a bonus if they stay with you for 90 days or 6 months to avoid the potential of being taken advantage of.
2. Low wages. We all know the janitorial field has exceptionally high turnover, which, of course, adds to your hiring challenges. We also know that janitors typically have low salaries. Are the two related? There are many potential reasons for high turnover, but one way you can lower turnover (and attract good candidates!) is to increase wages.
3. Lack of good candidates. Do you get piles of applications for every job opening you post? Or, do most of those applications go straight to the shredder? If you want to bring in good candidates, you need to stand out; otherwise, you’re just another janitorial job. To hire a good employee, you have to offer them a great place to work. Think about what makes you different. Is it through better pay, vacation time, benefits, or something else not common around you? Does everyone feel safe at work? How is your reputation in your community? These are all things that will help you attract better job candidates.
4. No time to hire. This is a tough one. The problem with working shorthanded is that everyone is working hard to pick up the slack. That leaves no time to properly write an ad, read through applications, conduct interviews, and call references. Far too often, cleaning providers end up so desperate for help that the first warm-blooded being that walks through the door gets the job. Unfortunately, that’s not a great way to bring on a new person. You might get lucky, and the person you hire will be a fantastic addition to the team. There’s a much greater chance that you’ll end up with a bad hire and set yourself up to repeat the cycle. What can you do? Here are a few ideas that can help you streamline the hiring process while still putting you in a position to hire the right person.
- Write a detailed help-wanted ad. Include the shift hours, salary, general duties, and expectations. You only have to write this once, so do it when you have time. Then just add in the specifics when you need it.
- Check references. Before you bring anyone in for an interview, check their references. This could save you the time you would spend on an interview.
- Work with a temp agency. If you don’t have time for interviewing and working to find the right person, contract the work out to a temp agency. It’s not the most economical choice, but it could save you the headache of trying to hire someone on your own.
5. Onboarding. While technically not a hiring issue, onboarding is a huge factor in retaining the people you just hired. You’ve taken the time and energy to hire the right people. Now you need to ensure they get settled into the new job. Show them around and introduce them to the rest of the team. Make sure they know where supplies and equipment are kept and spend time training them, so they work cohesively with the rest of your team. Yes, this could take a few shifts, but it’s well worth the effort when you have a steady team that works well together.
There will always be challenges in hiring, whether for an in-house team or your own janitorial company. The more you can do to head off those challenges, the greater chance you’ll have of finding and hiring the right people for your team.
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