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Six employee retention strategies to help reduce turnover

A good employee retention strategy is an important part of an effective cleaning program

employee retention

Employee turnover hurts an organization in many ways, but the dollar amount that comes from losing good workers is especially significant. According to a 2017 report from the Work Institute, turnover costs employers $15,000 per worker. With numbers like that, employee retention has never been more important—especially in a tight labor market.

Every cleaning organization has limited resources, making your ability to retain good cleaning workers key to your success. With effective employee retention strategies in place, your best workers will continue to work for you and not for your competition. What’s more, the strategies you choose don’t need to cost you a fortune. Here are six affordable employee retention strategies that you can implement in 2020.

1. Hire the right person for the job

Make sure that you are hiring employees who are a good fit for your organization. Many new hires who end up leaving their jobs admitted that they would have stayed longer had they been better informed about their role during the hiring process. Be honest about the expectations for the role. If the job is for a cleaning worker position, explain exactly what that includes. Cleaning jobs come in many different shapes and sizes; if it involves cleaning toilets and wearing a backpack vacuum in an office environment, let the candidate know. If you expect a new hire to interact with people on a daily basis, describe what that looks like. Whatever you do, don’t omit details of the job because you are desperately trying to fill an empty position. Being transparent is crucial for finding the right employee fit.

2. Develop your onboarding process

Set up new hires for success by developing a solid onboarding process. Streamlined hiring is critical; do your best to avoid long delays in getting new employees through the process. In addition to explaining their roles and responsibilities, share with them the company culture, mission, and vision and how their job performance contributes to that. Set clear expectations for new employees and describe what the next 30, 60, and 90 days will look like for them. Put them in contact with the right person to discuss any questions or issues they have to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed in their new job.

3. Provide training

Give your employees the knowledge and skills to succeed. A proper mix of classroom, online, and hands-on training is a fundamental component of an efficient and well-run cleaning operation. When employees are comprehensively trained, they are more knowledgeable about their job responsibilities, are more comfortable in performing day-to-day tasks, and have a better attitude about their position. Good cleaning managers never assume that new hires know how to perform every cleaning task. Training should continue until workers consistently demonstrate that they know their job responsibilities. Also consider certification programs for cleaning workers, which can improve professionalism and provide an opportunity to celebrate success.

4. Implement a buddy system

Pairing a new hire with a seasoned employee may improve employee retention. Choose experienced employees who understand their role in the training process and are committed to sharing their knowledge to shorten the new hire’s learning curve. The goal is to assign someone new hires can lean on during their transitional period. The experienced employee should act as a sounding board and introduce the new team member to the company culture.

5. Celebrate achievements

Whether it’s an individual or team success, make sure you acknowledge it. Seize the opportunity to celebrate together. Recognizing wins is important for you, your team, and your organization. It also reinforces your own leadership by reminding you of the goal you set and why you set it in the first place. One great way to celebrate is by planning an event for National Custodian Worker Day on October 2, 2020. Planning should start well in advance and involve everyone necessary to communicate the significance of the event. One reason employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated; in fact, many employees haven’t received any form of recognition in the last year.

6. Maintain a fair workload

Balancing the workload among employees improves morale, while unfair work division can strain good employees. Talented employees often become frustrated and burnt out, especially in an understaffed organization that has fewer employees to share the work. With careful workloading, it’s easier to identify who does what, when they should do it, and how to prioritize what needs to be done. When possible, consider rotating workers between jobs to allow for cross-training.

Happy employees stay in their jobs longer than their unhappy colleagues. A good employee retention strategy is an important part of an effective cleaning program. Your company’s hiring process, training, and supportive culture are critical components in achieving a high level of employee retention and organizational success. The longer employees work for your organization, the more experience they will have in both the cleaning industry and your team, which is invaluable. Take the time to review your current plan and make sure you are set up for success in 2020 and beyond.

Tim Poskin

Tim Poskin is founder and systems integrator of ISSA’s Cleaning Change Solutions™ Consulting and serves as the executive director of the ISSA Workloading and Benchmarking Committee. Poskin may be reached at tim@cmiccs.com.

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