One of the ongoing challenges BSC leaders face is the recruitment and retention of employees. Those who have successfully reduced turnover rates emphasize the importance of continually recognizing and rewarding team members — a lesson that didn’t always come easily for some.

“In the early 1990s our motto was ‘no news is good news; the rest is bad,’” says Murch. “We completely changed that, and now we recognize team members for doing exemplary work and let them know how important they are.”

For every compliment received from a client, Murch writes a personal note of appreciation to the team member involved. He says that showing gratitude and rewarding employees for a job well done has paid off in spades.

Similarly, JANCOA hit a turning point in the 1990s when Miller spoke up about changing the company’s approach to hiring and retaining workers.

“We were hiring 50-60 people a month, and we needed to figure out how to stop the revolving door,” Miller explains. “We started to look at our team members differently and figure out how to train them so we could retain them.”

For Miller, the biggest lesson learned was to see the humanity in people. She and her husband focused on improving their employees’ quality of life, providing transportation as well as English and financial literacy classes to those in need. The results were immediate: Turnover rates declined, and clients loved seeing the same people cleaning their buildings.

Sometimes, addressing business challenges (like high turnover rates) means taking a calculated risk. Other times it requires a leap of faith. According to BSCs, the approach may vary, but the manner in which conflicts are resolved can speak volumes about the company’s leadership.

“No business operates without ups and downs,” notes Diamond. “It’s how you react to those ups and downs that’s important. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to look at something that isn’t broken or isn’t a problem and see if you can make it better so that it doesn’t break.”

Toward this end, Diamond constantly strives to increase his knowledge and network with peers through organizations such as Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI). After attending a trade show, he chooses three ideas to put into practice and encourages his team to do the same for their departments.

“Don’t try to do everything, or you’ll do some of it poorly,” he says. “Rather pick three things, do them well and then pick three more.”

As legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are made, not born.” Leadership skills can be acquired and improved upon over a lifetime.

“I am and always have been a student of leadership,” says Murch. “You can’t learn enough — whether it’s how to be a good father, husband or business leader. Never stop being a sponge and keep your eyes open.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.

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