Tony Maione, vice president of custodial consulting firm Core Management Services, didn’t plan to go into the family business. Despite having a foot in the door at the company owned by his father and uncle as early as his teenage years, he always thought he would blaze his own path.
After college Maione—now 33—took a job in a different industry for a year, but was eventually drawn back to the family business. His brother and his cousin eventually joined the company too, putting the wheels in motion for the company to become an official family business. Even though retirement was still far off for both of the organization’s founders, having a second generation of family members on board full time made them realize it was time to start strategizing for the future and planning for long-term success.
Fifteen percent of CMM readers are at least 65 years old, and another 42 percent are 55–64 years old, according to a recent audience study conducted by CMM editorial staff. This means a majority of CMM readers are either within a decade of or past retirement age. Regardless of when these readers actually plan to exit the workforce, these figures raise an important question: How are their organizations supposed to replace them once they get there?
It’s Never Too Early to Plan
In 2015 Maione and his family attended Transitions East, a conference created specifically for families in business together, in Tampa, FL. Maione says this conference set the stage for the future of Core Management Services. While the company doesn’t have a formal succession plan in place at this time and the first-generation business owners are not yet planning on retirement, the company is already honing in on creating a platform and a niche for the next generation of employees to succeed.
A 2016 report from Deloitte University Press emphasizes how important it is for organizations to start planning ahead and singling out new leadership as early as possible. “Today, organizations need to explore new approaches to leadership development,” the report says. “They should seek to apply rigorous, structured, scientific approaches to succession planning and development, aiming to identify potential leaders earlier and fast-track them into leadership positions.”
Core Management has started to focus on identifying the next generation of leaders by creating new business opportunities for them and clearly defined roles for family members. Additionally, Maione says, it’s important to communicate to allemployees—not just family members—that opportunity is there for the taking.
“We’re not a culture based on nepotism; rather we’re a culture based on outcomes and performance, and everyone has an equal chance to grow into leaders of the company.”
Give Your Salaries a Boost
Retention is a huge issue in the cleaning industry; 85 percent of BSCs surveyed by CMM in 2016 said recruiting and retaining quality staff was a challenge, and 70 percent of facility managers surveyed in 2017 said reducing employee turnover was important to them.
There are a lot of factors that may encourage employees to give their loyalty to an organization, but sometimes money talks. According to a survey by global staffing firm Robert Half, inadequate salaries and benefits were most likely to cause 39 percent of employees to quit. If your organization can find the cash—which can be tough in a competitive and budget-stricken industry—offering above-average compensation for your geographic area may be enough to encourage employees to stay. In the long run, it may be cheaper and better for your long-term strategy than spending the time and money to train replacements.
Build a Positive Culture
It’s safe to say that implementing salary increases is often easier said than done. However, there are other ways to invest in your staff without spending a lot of money.
Investing in creating a positive company culture is one way to contribute minimal resources and net a positive result. Treating employees to a special day out is one way to show your employees appreciation without breaking the bank, while simultaneously building morale by getting the entire staff together for a bit of fun.
Investing in building a family-type atmosphere and creating a positive work culture can pay back tenfold. “I think if you do that in any business, you are positioning yourself for a successful succession plan, because you are going to be the type of company that others want to be a part of,” Maione says.
Recruit Ambitious Employees
While many companies in the modern workforce are focusing on hiring and retaining Millennials—type “recruiting Millennials” into a Google search and countless options will appear— solely staffing up a company with younger employees may not be the most effective way to ensure its long-term success.
“Never try to recruit for a certain age,” Maione says. Instead, focus on getting people in the door who will be the best fit for a particular type of position, whether the opportunity is for a custodial job or a managerial position within your organization.
Ashley Winkle, a young commercial cleaning franchisee agrees. “If you want to find younger people to be in the industry, you have to find folks that have a solid reason to [be in the profession],” she says.
Winkle herself wasn’t looking to specifically start a career in the cleaning industry. A 34-year-old mother of three from Alabama, she was looking for an opportunity that would allow her and her husband to work together while also providing them with some flexibility. After a long search, they landed on commercial cleaning franchise Office Pride.
Winkle is now is the process of getting her franchise branch up and running, which will involve recruiting and hiring employees. Part of the interview process will include asking potential candidates why they want to be part of her company. Whether they are trying to pay of debt, save up for a trip, or put money aside for college tuition, she will be looking for people that have a particular goal in mind.
Look to the Outside for Help
Succession planning is not an easy load to bear, especially with all the other responsibilities company owners and department heads have on their shoulders. If you aren’t sure where to start, it might not hurt to look to outside experts or consultants for help, Maione suggests. Investing a little bit now may help to avoid the risks and pitfalls that can accompany the tough choices associated with business planning, and set your company up for long-term success.