It costs more than $1,600 to replace a trained janitor. So, wouldn’t it make financial sense to do whatever it takes to keep these employees for as long as possible? Yet, building service contractors experience turnover rates ranging from 35 to 75 percent. And for some unfortunate BSCs, turnover runs as high as 400 percent. 

Contract cleaning is a people business. No amount of product technology will cover up the shortcomings of a poorly trained and unmotivated worker.

Mary Miller, CEO of Cincinnati-based JANCOA, learned this lesson 20 years ago and has been perfecting her solution ever since. In fact, her innovative answer to turnover just garnered the company Bronze for Best Place to Work at the Best in Biz Awards in 2013.

So, what’s her secret? Focus on employees’ dreams and goals.

“The Dream Manager program is about inspiring our employees to really go after what they want in their lives,” says Mary. “There are not too many people who grow up and want to be a janitor.”

Whether it’s buying a house or going to nursing school, Mary, along with husband and company Founder Tony Miller and Dream Manager Joe Candella, identify what each employee feels is missing from his life and put him back on that path.

“For the most part, janitorial is a transitional job on the way to something else,” says Mary. “Frequently they forget what they were on their way to because of disappointment and frustration in their lives. We get the opportunity to help awaken what people really want to do in their lives.”

Not only do employees benefit from the program, but by taking an interest in their employees’ lives, JANCOA has improved employee retention. Since its inception, turnover has dropped from more than 100 percent down to just 65 percent.

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JANCOA Owners Face 'A People Problem'