This is the sixth part of a seven-part article on recruiting and retention strategies.

Although wages and raises are important focal points, BSCs need to look beyond money and find what truly motivates employees to stay.

“We try to show them that we care about them,” says Klein. “For instance, I try to get to know their names. We host what we call Payroll Party Friday; every payday, we invite employees and managers into the office, bring in some food, put a training video on a loop in our operations room, and provide equipment and supplies they can pick up to restock their locations.”

Klein is also hoping it helps to try to make life at work, and outside of work, a little easier for employees. For a majority of them, their cleaning job is a second job — and their primary jobs can be labor-intensive, meaning, they don’t always come to work on a full tank. If workers are tired and miss important tasks or perform them poorly, it can ultimately cause a building service contractor to lose an account.

“What we are trying to do is investigate and find the best products, equipment and supplies that can make our cleaners’ jobs easier,” says Klein. “We want these products to help them work fast and the equipment to be ergonomically correct, which can ease physical pressure and improve productivity. My objective is to keep accounts, so we have to find ways to help our employees get the job done correctly.”

Since employees’ other jobs can make it difficult to come in on paydays to pick up their checks, Building Professionals of Texas has also made direct deposit available.

“Now they don’t have to skip their lunch every other Friday and drive over to our office to pick up their checks. Direct deposit is one way we’re trying to make our employees’ lives easier and to take things off their plate,” says Klein.

Another good retention tool are managers themselves.

“I’m finding that good middle management — the operations managers, the route managers — are the key to retaining good front-line employees,” says Klein. “If they’re good people and they work hard with staff, we get better and longer-lasting employees.”

Murch agrees, saying he urges his managers to remember that good employees don’t quit jobs — they quit managers.

“We always track turnover by account and when we have an account with abnormally high turnover, we usually recognize that it most likely is a supervisory or account manager issue compared with a turnover issue,” says Murch.

Whether turnover is high or low for any given BSC, and no matter how labor trends are affecting the cleaning industry, it remains a hot topic in corner offices across the country. It affects morale, perception and performance — so contractors who are being proactive about addressing it show they care about both their employees and their customers.

Lisa Ridgely is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. She is the former Deputy Editor of Contracting Profits.

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