A reader writes: “I struggle with finding good workers for the pay and benefits that I can offer. Many of the people who I interview do not seem to want to work, but expect to get paid. How do others deal with this issue?”

This has been and will continue to be a challenge for building service contractors and in-house departments who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and resources advertising, interviewing, training and then replacing worker who do not work out after a week or two on the job. If I had the ultimate answer to this question I could probably be very rich simply by selling the system to people like you. All I can do in this brief article is to recommend some basic observations that may or may not fit your situation. Please note that various areas of the country have different laws and requirements so you will have to clear any ideas with legal and HR before proceeding.

In the old days (think right after Noah left the Ark), I had a profile for custodians that may not fit today’s environment. I hired part time workers and paid them by the week or job being sure to exceed minimum wage and offered a minimum of benefits since most of my employees had day jobs with benefits and were looking for extra income for a new car, pending vacation or other expense. Simply put, they were there for the cash flow and I did my best to provide an attractive work environment that fit their schedule and needs. By working them 3-4 hours per night and paying them a weekly rate they had the benefit of managing their own time within certain parameters. For instance, they might have something on Tuesdays so they would only perform the basics and catch up another night. I had a prescribed work schedule (think Job Cards before the concept was popular) that had to be performed each day and week but gave them flexibility in when and how to perform those tasks. Of course, I monitored their actual times on site for security reasons.

Did it always work out? No, but I did find that most of my hires were dependable and could be trusted to get the job done with support from me when necessary. I also got great referrals from my incumbent workers. As always your comments and suggestions are welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.