people replying to survey questions and offering feedback

Facility cleaning managers have a lot on their plates. With an average of 883,000 square feet of cleanable space, 13 buildings and 41 staff members, there is little downtime. Yet, these executives continue to rise to departmental challenges.

To meet cleaning demands on fluctuating budgets (a trend that has grown 14 percentage points since 2018), most departments rely on strong staff. In fact, hiring and maintaining reliable workers is a top priority for 36 percent of managers (up from 25 percent last year) — and they are succeeding.

Employee turnover doesn’t seem to be an issue for most cleaning departments, which could be attributed to retention efforts being implemented. In the last 12 months, there has been an increase in departments that offer staff perks such as paid vacation time (86 percent), health insurance (85 percent), paid holidays (85 percent), paid sick leave (84 percent) and routine raises (76 percent). In fact, retention strategies were up in all areas over 2018 (see page 13 for a full list).

Although the length of time workers stay with a department is increasing — up a year and a half since 2018 — they will eventually leave for one reason or another. According to this “2019 Facility Cleaning Decisions Management Survey,” sponsored by Betco Corp., the perks are great, but the No. 1 reason workers leave is for better pay elsewhere. The second biggest reason: retirement (34 percent, up from 28 percent last year).

Sticking with what they can control, managers have looked at increasing salaries in an effort to attract and retain staff. The average starting salary for front-line workers has increased $1.26 since last year, a step closer to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic averages for building cleaning workers. But this could be a burden on budgets.

To offset additional budget dollars going toward labor, managers are cutting back on contracting out project work. Tasks such as window washing, snow/ice removal and grounds care are now being done in-house more than ever before. Thanks to an increase in training, in-house workers are capable of completing these tasks quicker and more cost effectively than outside contractors.

Demands within facilities are always changing and managers are changing right along with them. This “2019 Facility Cleaning Decisions Management Survey” outlines some of their biggest challenges.

The survey is broken out into a couple different categories. Links to each are available here:
Management Priorities
Departmental Budgets
Staffing Challenges

To compare this 2019 survey with results from previous years, click here.

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Cleaning Executives Comment On Management Priorities