The Labor Shortage And 5 Reasons Outsourcing Cleaning Can Help
Contributed by Eric Roudi, CEO, OpenWorks
If your business is struggling to hire and retain good workers this year, then you’re not alone. We are amid one of the worst labor shortages the U.S. has seen in decades. With little indication that conditions are improving, many business owners have been forced to overburden employees, keep lackluster staff, and even reduce output in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These tough decisions are hurting the quality-of-service businesses can offer and damaging their bottom lines.
As fear of a COVID-19 resurgence becomes more prevalent, maintaining a clean and well-run facility is critical. In response to increased demands for sanitization amid the pandemic, many businesses are turning to facilities management companies to help with tasks like cleaning, disinfecting, and property maintenance.
Business owners don’t need to hear from the media or even the government to know that there is a labor shortage; Unfortunately, most of them are experiencing the effects themselves. Blue-collar and manual services workers are particularly lacking, causing many businesses to face shortages of cleaning, maintenance, and landscaping staff, among many others. In fact, experts predict that these conditions could evolve into the worst labor shortage in the last 50 years, according to The Conference Board.
There is uncertainty around how or when this shortage will end. In a survey of economists, only 6 percent expected the shortages to end by the end of 2021, according to Bloomberg. Data shows that layoffs and firings are low, indicating that employers may be forced to keep low quality workers for fear of having no workers at all. A national employee survey reveals that twenty-seven percent of U.S. employees plan to leave their employer as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, according to Eagle Hill, indicating that we haven’t seen the worst of this shortage yet.
Some industries, such as hospitality, may be feeling the effects more than others. Even Walt Disney World Resorts is having trouble attracting new labor and has resorted to offering housekeepers signing bonuses. Some hospitality brands are considering decreasing the frequency of cleaning to compensate for shortages. Cutting corners and reducing quality of cleaning and maintenance is certainly not the answer, especially amid concerns of a pandemic resurgence.
Providers have access to tools and technology that make cleaning faster and more efficient, ensuring your business can welcome staff and customers into a safe and appealing environment. Here are some tips for how businesses can benefit from hiring a team of experts, and why this approach can actually save you money in the long run.
Top 5 Reasons to Partner with a Facilities Management Company
With a looming labor shortage on the horizon and the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, having an experienced team of facility managers and cleaners can be invaluable. Whether your company needs high-quality cleaning services or a pool of reliable facility services providers, partnering with a facility management company can provide a variety of unique benefits suited for your company or office’s specific needs.
1. Save Time and Effort
Reduce the work of hiring during this labor shortage by outsourcing to a facilities management company. Hiring is a huge consumer of resources, one that is difficult for many businesses to afford after a tough year. When you contract with a quality facilities management company, you don’t have to worry about turnover or finding talent. If you have concerns about services or an individual, you can simply notify your contact. They take care of that for you. You can rest assured that a capable team will show up to take care of your needs as scheduled and focus your time, money, and resources on better investments.
2. Work with Experts
Even when you find talented individuals to work with, they won’t be ready to work independently on day one. Training an employee can take several months, especially when it comes to educating them about following cleaning and disinfecting protocols and using commercial-grade tools and technology. Letting a new employee work unsupervised too soon can result in mistakes and even accidents. When you choose a top facilities management company, they will ensure that service providers are ready to work on day one. If a newer provider needs supervision or guidance on the job, they’ll ensure a manager or experienced peer is there to help. You don’t have to worry about a learning curve, because service providers are experts at what they do.
3. Take Advantage of Top Technology
Facilities management companies have access to the latest commercial grade technology that enables service providers to work more efficiently. Consider the comparison of a bucket and a mop to an industrial floor scrubber. The industrial tool will enable the service provider to do a better job in less time, which is why facilities management companies can coordinate providers for many businesses in a single day without sacrificing quality. Facilities management companies also have access to disinfecting technology and products that are difficult for non-facilities management businesses to obtain, such as electrostatic sprayers and cleaning solutions that are proven to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. Most businesses don’t have the knowledge or ability to effectively disinfect all surfaces without causing any damage to finishes or upholstery. Facilities management service providers are able to disinfect every surface without disrupting your flow of business.
4. Reduce the Burden of Turnover
High turnover rates are certainly not new to the commercial cleaning industry. In 2018, turnover averaged a whopping 300 percent according to a report from 4M building solutions, and it’s even higher now. High turnover has consequences that impact your entire business, not just the team with turnover. Indirect consequences include losing the employee’s knowledge and experience, lower morale, and loss of belief in the team's competence and ability to perform. Turnover can become like a weed that spreads throughout your business.
By working with a facilities management company, you can effectively insulate your business from high turnover. Facilities management companies are used to managing turnover and have safeguards in place to protect turnover from affecting customers. Even if a service provider leaves your facilities management company, you can rest assured that it won’t impact your level of service.
5. Improve Employee Satisfaction
Working with a facilities management company further reduces facilities services turnover and boosts company culture by improving employee satisfaction. Did you know that workload is the number one reason employees quit? Sometimes it may seem like no big deal to ask an employee to take on a few extra tasks when you’re in a bind, especially during a labor shortage, but this can lead to frustration and resentment, which ultimately makes employees quit. Then their tasks are passed on to another employee, and the cycle continues. Save yourself the headache by hiring a professional team to handle your facilities upkeep.
The causes of this shortage are widely debated and multifaceted, but one thing is clear: Businesses are struggling to find and keep good workers. Recruiting and training employees takes time, money, and effort. Even when quality employees are hired, it can take months to fully train them to the level of other employees so they can operate independently. These are resources businesses may not have available, yet keeping facilities sanitary is critical for safety and success right now. The solution? Many business owners are turning to facilities management companies to maintain consistent, quality cleaning and facilities services.
Eric Roudi is CEO of OpenWorks, a national commercial cleaning and facility services provider, headquartered in Phoenix, that helps all types of facilities across the country manage their cleaning and disinfecting efforts and reduce the spread of germs.