Staffing Challenges Plaguing Cleaning Departments

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of workers aged 65 or older has grown by 117 percent in a span of 20 years. And these workers aren’t trimming back their hours either. In the last 15 years, the percentage of 65-year-old workers employed in full-time, versus part-time jobs, has consistently increased.

Although staffs extending their tenure means less turnover in facilities, cleaning managers are, instead, faced with a different challenge. An older workforce means cleaning restrictions and limitations for these employees. In fact, the amount of managers citing older workers as having a large impact on departments has jumped drastically over the last 12 months.

In 2016, only 9 percent of Facility Cleaning Decisions readers listed aging workers as having an impact on the cleaning department. This year, 35 percent of managers are challenged with accommodating departmental veterans.

Limitations aside, an older staff poses a less obvious, but potentially more challenging problem for managers. Retaining older workers prevents new hires and the development of future leaders. Instead, existing managers age along with their staff, shortening the window on staff development.

According to our survey, only 44 percent of facility cleaning managers have a succession plan in place for their replacement. Many of them blame the lack of recruitment and worker development for the problem. Instead of hiring and mentoring future departmental leaders, managers are focused on accommodating their aging workers.

But there is good and bad news for the future, depending on how you look at it. It’s estimated that by the year 2020, at least 50 percent of the global workforce will consist of millennials.

This is good because new and younger staffs will provide opportunities for process improvements and succession planning. The bad news is, replacing a large amount of staff at one time is challenging. Especially, when they are being replaced with a generation that executives are already struggling to get a handle on.