Respect, good management and a possible career path are enough incentive for some to stay, but when that doesn’t do the trick, money also talks.

Cleaning companies are going to want to keep their quality employees, but if the price for retention is detrimental to the budget, it’s not worth a hefty raise. However, if the cost to keep the employee rises within budget, management should strongly consider providing a raise if it means the good worker stays.

“Good employees don’t leave the company, but leave the person that manages them,” says Hopkins. “If a good employee needs $0.50 more to stay, I give it to them.”

Paying to retain doesn’t have to wait until employees are seeking other jobs. All of those interviewed say pay must always be competitive — and not just with the federal minimum wage. Companies should strive to pay their workers a fair amount for labor in the area for which they’re working.

“Frequency is a big factor,” says Washington. “The pay must be accurate and guaranteed. It should be at least 130 percent of the local minimum wage.”

Other perks in addition to pay could be the deciding factor between an employee staying or leaving a job. Paid time off and health insurance options are strong benefits that a BSC should consider offering, providing it’s within the budget. 

Cleaning companies can offer many more life and career enriching perks aside from the traditional benefits. Some are practical and some are all about morale boosting fun.

Perhaps a monthly class on how to invest or save for retirement could be offered to frontline workers. Courses on developing leadership skills and career advancement could be provided, too. 

Events that promote and honor good work by individual workers and the employees as a whole are also encouraged. A pizza party might be in order if the company came under budget for a quarter or the workers received a lot of praise from clients, or a gift could be given to an employee in front of his or her peers when they reach a milestone, such as a work anniversary. Employee of the month honors are still a good idea, and should also be recognized in a group setting.

In the interest of continuing to further humanize the employee, events could be held to create more of a sense of community and bond between management and frontline workers. A summer or spring picnic could be a good idea. Little birthday celebrations with cake and snacks could be fun. Employees could be encouraged to form committees, which empowers them.

“Try a mix of things to create what works for you and your culture,” says Washington.

Retention is, and will likely continue to be, a struggle for building service contractors. That doesn’t mean a white flag should be raised along with a “woe is me” attitude. Plenty of changes — some hard and some easy — can be implemented to give employees what they desire — which in most cases is strong leadership and respect.


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The Importance Of Employee Recognition