The commercial cleaning and maintenance industry is notorious for its high employee turnover rates.
The figures vary in each market segment, but I have consistently seen statistics in the 300 percent range.
It is true that some employees have impressive tenure and eventually retire from their long-held positions, but they are the exception.
Based on industry data, the average frontline janitorial, custodial and environmental services positions are held by three different individuals in a given year.
This changing of the cleanliness and hygiene guard occurs almost seasonally, and one has to wonder if our hiring practices are contributing to the turnover phenomenon.
Let’s be honest: Most JanSan careers are not very lucrative, and regardless of how altruistic you may be, survival is next to impossible without money.
Despite the fact that some do climb the corporate ladder from frontline worker to manager or supervisor, a vast majority do not.
So, what we are left with is a pool of potential employees that we know will not remain on the payroll for very long — several weeks in some cases to less than one year in other instances — often jumping ship when a seemingly better opportunity presents itself.
If we seek solace in investing time and resources to properly train and continually educate staffs, then why are we actively seeking bottom rung prospects?
I surmise that playing the numbers game does more damage to the image of the industry — not to mention the potential detriment to the built environment and building occupant health — than it does help.
The solution to this growing problem is not reducing our pool of prospects; rather, we can find resolution in more thoroughly vetting candidates to ensure their work ethic and ideals align with your corporate culture or the general attitude of your organization.
According to David Kelly, regional director for Jani-King Baltimore, it is always good to screen candidates for attitudes and behaviors that business experience indicates will make a candidate successful.
In noting that certain key skills can be learned through initial training and ongoing education, Kelly says, “Key attitudes we hire for are honesty, self-discipline, coachability and, among others, tenaciousness.”
Insanity can be loosely defined as, “Continuing a particular pattern of behavior and expecting the results to be unique in each outcome.”
Why, then, are you continuing down the same beaten path when looking to fill empty positions — especially knowing that your current techniques have not been overly fruitful and have lead you in a hiring circle?
Instead of following convention and simply doing what everyone else does or that which you have done in the past, break the mold and be nontraditional.
Make your hiring practices fun and fresh by:
- Incentivizing current employees’ recruitment of new workers
- Asking thought-provoking questions not usually queried
- Conducting interviews in less common settings like a park or while walking through your facility
- Letting the potential new employee do most of the talking and see where the conversation leads
- Analyzing body language and focusing on the persona an individual exudes
- Looking to social media outlets to find new prospects.
“Social media is appropriate for recruiting managerial, sales or administrative team members, but we continue to use traditional recruitment efforts while supplementing those with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter,” states Kelly. “Years from now, as the younger generation grows to maturity, I believe social media will become the primary means for recruitment at all levels.”
Check Twice And Hire Once
The single best thing you can do to vet potential new hires is to perform thorough background checks.
According to Alfred Firato, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of HireSafe Employment Background Screening, employers have a financial obligation to grow their business and a moral obligation to protect the public and their employees from danger.
“This ‘duty of care’ can only be performed by accurately knowing the demonstrated history of each applicant before they are hired,” proclaims Firato.
Some of the more important verifications detailed by Firato that can be confirmed during a pre-employment screening include criminal history, academic records, right-to-work status, previous employment and, aside from many more, a job skills assessment.
But, no matter how exhaustive a background check may be, it will never tell you everything you need to know about a candidate.
As such, face-to-face interviews, telephone conversations and e-mail correspondence all still have their place in the hiring and vetting process.
Because organization is key in filling open positions from a large potential workforce, hiring managers are increasingly looking to software programs that track everything along every step from initial recruitment, through background checks and to the first day of employment — if an applicant is deemed a worthy hire.
Applicant tracking software also makes it easier to share information with those in authoritative roles across a company or organization, further bolstering the vetting process.
“When different managers and key people are involved with the vetting process, a better ‘job fit’ will naturally emerge, as multiple eyes and ears contribute to the hiring decision,” concludes Firato.
Whatever they type of position you’re looking to fill, do not haphazardly hire someone simply to fill the void.
Take the time to find the ideal candidate and screen him or her thoroughly and appropriately to ensure they are a solid fit for you, your company or organization and their future coworkers.
By properly vetting potential hires, we can reduce the instances of turnover in the JanSan industry and save precious capital while creating cleaner, healthier and safer built environments in the process.