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How to Keep Your Best Cleaning Technicians

"People don't leave their jobs, they leave their bosses." Kevin Kelloway

There was a Gallup poll of more than 1 million employed U.S. workers that found that a bad boss or supervisor is the number one reason people leave their job. These people feel they were either treated poorly by their boss or they had to work in a hostile environment created by their boss or immediate supervisor.

The poll also revealed that poorly managed teams are on average 50 percent less productive than well managed teams. I believe this to be true because in my experience, whenever we had a poor supervisor in place, we lost good employees.

There are warning signs that you may be losing a good cleaning technician. Have you ever noticed any of these signs?

1. The employee's productivity drops off
2. The employee seems quiet or down
3. The employee shows up to work late more often
4. The employee calls in sick more often
5. The employee stops volunteering when you ask for additional help
6. The employee starts getting more incoming phone calls
7. The employee starts taking longer lunches and breaks
8. The employee starts requesting vacation days one day at a time (so he/she can interview for another job)

So how do you keep your best cleaning technicians? Obviously hiring and promoting the best supervisors is of key consideration. And making sure you educate yourself on being the best owner/manager that you can be. Beyond great management, there are more things you can do to retain your best employees.

Many cleaning business owners and managers assume that money is a good motivator for employees. But money is a satisfier, not a motivator. If an employee feels he or she is receiving adequate compensation, more money isn't going to buy more productivity; and lack of more money won't necessarily drive the employee away. You might be surprised at how other less expensive ideas can go a long way in helping you hang on to your best people.

Here are some simple ideas to help you keep your best cleaning employees:

1. Create a positive work environment.
2. Don't underestimate the power of positive feedback.
3. Ask your employees for input and listen to their ideas.
4. Show your employees respect.
5. Say thank you to your employees, and say it often.

Mark Twain wrote, "I can live for 2 weeks on a good compliment". So can your employees. Complimenting your employees on a job well done goes a long way towards keeping them motivated and wanting to do a good job for you.

Think beyond increasing pay. Sometimes all it takes is small, sincere gestures and rewards to keep your good employees. Here are a few ideas:

1. Hand written notes
2. Sincere thank you's and compliments
3. Plaques, balloons, flowers, or food
4. Featuring an employee in your company newsletter
5. A letter or visit from the owner of the company
6. A birthday card and cake
7. Unexpected gifts or gift cards for a job well done
8. Team competitions

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Brainstorm with your team to come up with even more ideas and start figuring out how you can implement them to keep your employees motivated.

And finally, to re-emphasize the most important point about keeping your best cleaning technicians, give today's workers what they want. The old rules don't apply anymore. Today's workers want personal praise and recognition. And they want to to know that they are a valued contributor to your company.

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Would you like more help with your cleaning company? The Janitorial Store and MyHouseCleaningBiz.com offer private, online resources created exclusively for commercial and residential cleaning companies. We'd love to have you join us!


Knowing Your Prospects' Issues With Cleaning Companies Is Key to Demonstrating Your Expertise

There is one question that you can ask your cleaning prospects that can help bring about a discussion of the issues they experience with cleaning companies. And that question is:

"What kinds of problems are you facing today with regards to keeping your building (or home) clean?"

This is a good open-ended question that is likely to get them talking. It will also help you to direct the discussion to what you already know about the problems prospects typically face.

For example, you could now say something like:

"Based on my work with a number of other [banks, property managers, homeowners, etc], I find that the top three issues they're facing are:

  1. Finding a cleaning service that doesn't have a revolving door of employees cleaning their office (or home).
  2. Finding a service that provides consistent cleaning services. They start out great but after a few weeks or months, the work goes down hill.
  3. Finding a cleaning service owner or manager that actually knows what's going on in our building (or home) and anticipates my needs.

Which of these three issues is having the most impact on the cleanliness of your office (home)?"

Can you see how combining a good, open-ended question can lead them into a discussion where you can showcase your understanding of their frustrations? When directing your discussion in this way it also shows the prospect that you work with other people just like him.

And be sure to ask a related follow-up question, which will get you the more specific answers you're looking for.

When you ask thought-provoking questions of your prospects and then follow up with what you already know from your experience with other clients; you're sure to make an impression on your prosect that will get him moving in the direction of becoming your next client.