2 Tips to Reduce Employee Turnover in your Cleaning Business
April 17, 2021
April 17, 2021
The average commercial cleaning company has 100% (or more) turnover every year.
That’s right: after 12 months, the group of cleaners that work for you could be completely different. The cost of hiring and training new employees adds up and will limit growth.
Before he sold his cleaning business, Swept founder Michael Brown figured out how to get his turnover down to 15%. It took a lot of failed ideas, wasted time, and wasted money before he narrowed it down to two key approaches.
He doesn’t want you to make those mistakes. In the four-minute video below, Michael explains the two hiring basics:
Hiring basic #1: create job postings that work for you
Do not post a single job description for your commercial cleaning business.
Instead, post one for every major time slot you’re offering to clients. Typically, that breaks down into a posting for each of the following roles:
Do not copy and paste the same posting and apply a new title. Take the time and effort to tailor each job description to these separate roles.
The upfront time and effort spent here will streamline new hires and manage their expectations. One of the most common reasons for leaving a commercial cleaning business is a mismatch between when the cleaner can work and when they’re told they need to work.
Hiring basic #2: use interview questions that help you find true alignment
Similar to the job postings, the goal here is to ensure that both you and your new hire are aligned with when and where work needs to be done.
Too often, the interview process is an intimidating affair and candidates will simply tell you what they think you want to hear. This is a trap! It leads to turnover if you accept face-value optimism about ‘being able to work whenever it’s needed.’
Michael advises using questions or techniques such as:
- Put them at ease by telling them you’re flexible: your commercial cleaning business needs to be flexible anyway—let the candidate know that this is part of your culture and practice.
- Get them to tell you their desired hours per week: let them know there is no wrong answer, and ask for ideal hours per week anywhere between 2 and 40.
- Insist that they pick a ‘best time for them’: even though the job posting should have helped with filtering here, ask them which works best for their life: daytime, evening, overnight, or weekends. They may say they are open to all of them. Express your gratitude for that, but insist that they pick the absolute best.
- Ask them how they plan to get to the cleaning location and let them talk: your goal here as an interviewer is to listen and find any patterns or flags. Do they have reliable transportation? Are they concerned about getting to a certain area?
- Be honest if you detect misalignment: these techniques will help you figure out if the cleaner is a good fit for what your clients need. The #1 reason for turnover is a lack of fit, usually around what time of day, hours per week, and location. When you find misalignment in the interview, be upfront about it and offer to get in touch with the candidate when your business’ needs are closer to theirs.
Why does this work?
These two basic approaches can dramatically reduce your turnover. In Michael’s case, from 100% down to 15% and less.
Too many commercial cleaning businesses fail to understand the idea of fit.
These approaches work because they prioritize the candidate’s needs and limits. The employee comes first in this case—not the business! The mindset of “We pay you to clean, so you will clean when there is work to be done,” is both common and completely backwards.
Contracts need to be matched to people that actually want to work at those locations and times, full stop. Otherwise they will only continue to do the job as long as they absolutely need to and then they’ll quit.
If your janitorial cleaning business ensures that its hiring culture is all about finding the right fit, then your company will be the one that people leave other jobs for.