One of the toughest things to consider about janitorial management leadership is employee turnover! I have been in the janitorial business for a long time and it is a never-ending challenge. It seems that once you have trained someone to do the job right while being very productive, you are notified that they have accepted a job somewhere else for more money. Is there an answer to this ongoing question? I know one thing! It sure is very frustrating! I suspect that learning how to overcome this challenge separates the average janitorial manager from the exceptional one! Which one are you?
I have actually found a solution and it is easier than you ever imagined. I went into a different career field and left the problem for someone else to resolve! Just kidding of course! The problem will always be around for a very good reason. Whether you are janitorial cleaning contractor or an in-house janitorial department the pay rate for housekeepers/janitors is at the bottom of the pay scale. Like it or not this will not change anytime in the future! On the other hand, would it change anything if the pay was considerably more? Think about it for a minute and you will probably keep some people around but the large majority don't leave because of the money! They leave because they are cleaning toilets.
I suppose if we can eliminate cleaning toilets or any other nasty things, we might keep them around. Well we all know that isn't going to happen so we must figure this out without making money or cleaning toilets the main focus!
How about work schedules? When do most of your janitorial employee’s work? My guess if you are good at janitorial management leadership they are working after everyone else is at home relaxing and enjoying their families! That's right the best time to clean is when the majority of the people occupying the space needing cleaned are gone. So, if we could change everyone's schedule and have our janitorial employees working during the normal work day so that they could enjoy their evenings like everyone else we would not have the turnover right? Wrong again, since I have worked in units that did have their staff working during the normal work day and we still faced a high turnover rate. The other side of that same coin is that if your staff is working during the day, they are networking with the other employees and able to find out all the job openings.
So, as you can see my experiences show that money nor preferred schedule s will reduce your turnover rate to a point where you can live with it. So now what? Sure, it might help sporadically, but overall it doesn't really solve your problem. In fact, it may create new ones since now you are paying more for labor and your staff is not able to perform as productively with all the employees in the way. I truly bought into this theory early in my career and found out I was just paying workers more for the same amount of work and the good ones left anyway!
So, in my mind we have ruled out more money and better schedules as the solution to the turnover problem. Can we really solve the turnover problem at all? Are we just spinning our wheels looking for a solution that just isn't there? Is the problem or solution something we should be looking in a different direction for?
Whenever you look at a problem sometimes you can become distracted by what you think are some obvious answers. This generally takes you off on a tangent that takes you so far off course that you forget what you are trying to solve in the first place.
So, the question becomes is turnover really the problem or a symptom of the problem? If we could solve the turnover problem so well that we had zero turnover would our unit run like a well-oiled machine? Would every task get done and the unit be so far ahead of the budget we could give everyone huge bonuses? Sounds good! I'm always in favor of receiving a huge bonus! That giant flat screen television is looking more and more like a reality! Well maybe not!
The fact is that eliminating turnover would help but it would still not solve the problem. So, if this is a true statement what really is the root cause of a more productive workforce? A workforce that would make any Janitorial management leadership Company proud! A workforce that sets the standard for all other Janitorial management leadership Companies! A workforce that would be featured in all the national publications for Janitorial management leadership Companies. Can you see it now! My picture on the cover! Well since you don't know what I look like it is pretty hard to imagine that, but you get the point!
Everyone is hitting us from a different angle based on what they are trying to sell us. The equipment vendors are all telling us that their equipment will save us tons of time and solve world hunger at the same time!
The supply vendors are telling us that their cleaning products practically do all the cleaning by themselves. All we need to do is apply the product, stand back and watch it do the work for us!
So. now we have taken a look at turnover, preferred schedules, equipment, and supplies! Is there anything left to take a look at so that we can solve the mystery of productivity? Before we go any further do, we all agree that ultimately productivity is the real issue? Whether you have the best equipment, supplies, no turnover, great schedules, happy or sad employees, doesn't it really boil down to the least common denominator which is productivity?
If we are cleaning a building productively with an employee that has been with us twenty minutes or twenty years does it really matter. We could say the same about all the other factors that we covered already. In janitorial management leadership it really boils down to being productive or not. Our true goal is to clean an area to standard in a specified amount of time, utilizing the right equipment and supplies appropriately. Does it really matter what equipment, supplies, person, or schedule you use? Ultimately, we want it cleaned within certain guidelines so that we can remain profitable.
Let's put things into perspective! Let's change the topic to Football! The goal of Football is to score more points that the other team within a sixty-minute time frame. At the end of the day does it really matter if you use rookies or seasoned veterans if you score more points? Does it matter whether you use boring uniforms or flashy ones? Does it matter if it is raining or the sun is shining? No what really matters is if you score more points in a sixty-minute time frame! If you do, you win! If you don't you lose! Too many loses and the Coach (Janitorial Manager) may be in jeopardy of their job!
So, the root cause is productivity! The challenge becomes trying to be as productive as possible so that no matter who the player is, the equipment or supplies being used, or the schedule you still score more point than the other team!
Janitorial management leadership is the same thing! Clean the area in the prescribed amount of time using the right amount of chemicals and equipment!
My solution is pretty hard to understand so you may have to read it several times to really grasp it! Remember I have been in the Janitorial management leadership business for more than thirty plus years so I know what I'm talking about! Don't be frustrated when you hear this very complex hard to understand solution to this problem!
So, are you ready to hear the answer?
Training! That's right! I know right now you are telling yourself this is just not possible! How in the world could training be the problem?
Well like it or not it truly is the answer to your problems! It will do more to increase productivity, reduce turnover, mitigate scheduling issues, reduce accidents, extend the life of equipment, reduce chemical usage, and guess what? It will produce better results in a more productive way!
If you want to invest in anything make it in training! This could mean everything from you personally taking a leadership training course to inviting your vendor in to train your staff on their equipment! The bottom line is put together a training plan and stick with it!
Sticking with a solid training plan will prepare you and your staff for all types of situations that arise in the Janitorial management leadership business.
Let me give you some examples;
Take the first five minutes and the last five minutes of everyday to discuss important topics that occurred that day! This could include anything from a problem that was encountered and solved, such as a problem with a piece of equipment.
Take at thirty minutes at least one day a week and give a training class on an important topic!
Send individuals from your staff to vendor sponsored training events. They have them all the time and they can be great, as well as, your staff will enjoy going.
Insist that vendors give detailed thorough training on any equipment or cleaning supplies they provide.
Do more on the spot type training, such as show them how to do something better, faster, etc.
Finally, continually assess your staff for competency so that you can give individualized training also.
This will go further to solve all your issues than focusing in on turnover, which will never go away.
Good Luck and May God Bless and thank you for reviewing this article on Janitorial Management Leadership!