10 Solutions To Staff Shortages
Contributed by Janitorial Manager
Building service contractors who try to run a business while being understaffed can find themselves facing a daunting challenge. Whether its employees calling in sick, not having enough people on the team, or someone stops showing up, trying to cover a short-staffed shift is one of the not-so-fun parts of running a commercial cleaning business.
Meanwhile, some staff shortage solutions aren’t really practical. Sure, BSCs can hire extra people to prepare for when those shortages come up, but that wreaks havoc on the budget.
It’s common knowledge that the janitorial industry has a notoriously high employee turnover rate. That high turnover is also expensive and it can potentially interrupt the high-quality service offered to customers.
There’s good news, though. There are short-term and long-term staff shortage solutions that work. Some of these will require some hustle, and BSCs may find that some of them will have an associated cost. However, the expense of making sure the work gets done far outweighs the expense of dissatisfied clients and a poor reputation.
BSCs are certainly welcome to compare different outcomes. In fact, they should. But don’t dismiss something just because it may cost some cash to accomplish. That could be money well spent in the long run.
Here are 10 staff shortage solutions for BSCs to consider:
1. Offer more hours to current employees. This is perhaps the easiest and quickest solution for staff shortages. Companies have people who already know the job and may be interested in working additional hours. Of course, that could mean paying overtime, but that’s better than losing clients.
2. Train the team to do more. If the staff shortage is in a specific skill set, can other frontline staff be trained to do that job? Depending on the skill, this may require a certification course or hands-on training, but it could be well worth the time and investment.
3. Hire a temporary employee. Hiring through a staffing agency takes much of the administrative burden off managers. Agencies such as Randstad, Manpower and Adecco, for example, do the footwork on behalf of the company. It’s a great way to fill in a position for a few shifts or a temp-to-hire situation.
4. Hire “unqualified” people. What does that mean? Stop looking for people with previous janitorial experience. A wide range of candidates out there may have the skills needed without specific janitorial experience. These individuals can be trained on how to do the work. That’s easy enough. Interview service industry people, parents, or anyone else whose job requires them to stay on task, pay attention to details and work with a sense of urgency.
5. Post the job opening on social media. It's hard to know who is following the company on social media or who they may know that is looking for a new opportunity.
6. Use technology. Technology like janitorial management software can help streamline the entire workflow. Keep up with inventory, equipment maintenance, staff reliability, checklists, and more when using technology designed to help the business succeed.
7. Ensure good working conditions. There are two factors that impact working conditions. One is the actual job. Managers can’t do much to change the tasks or the environment of a job. The other factor, however, is entirely within control: how the team is treated. People stick with employers who treat them well. That means everything from thanking them for the hard work to ensuring customers also treat these frontline employees respectfully.
8. Increase wages. Yes, there’s more to a job than money, but money is also what people use to pay rent, buy food and live. Improved pay tells employees that management cares about them and wants them to stick with the company.
9. Offer benefits. If managers really want to attract and retain top-notch employees, offer benefits. Health insurance, paid time off, and a retirement plan are just a few common benefits. It’s worth noting, too, that while some of these staff shortage solutions may take time to implement, sick time can be added as a benefit quickly.
10. Revamp the hiring and onboarding process. Hiring the right people and getting them comfortable with the team can do wonders for employee retention and job performance. Don’t hire out of desperation. Take the necessary time and get people who will be able to do the job and do it well.
Being short staffed can feel like a crisis. But if managers can look at long-term solutions, they may find that it becomes less of a problem with each passing day.