How can contract cleaning companies retain staff?

It goes without saying that the foundation of every contract cleaning company is the cleaners. They are the face of the business and provide the service that the company offers. Retaining staff is crucial for contract cleaning businesses. So it’s more important than ever for businesses to ensure employees are happy and settled in their work.

A report from the British Cleaning Council (BCC) in 2021 found that since 2018, the number of employees working as contract cleaners decreased by about 18%. And while the Covid-19 pandemic played a part, fragility in the cleaning workforce was exposed.

Unfortunately, the contract cleaning industry carries with it many reasons why staff retention is problematic.  Operatives may have multiple cleaning jobs and need the support of their employer to achieve this balance. Many cleaners are also on minimum wage, so if another company offers more for the same position, employees will soon jump ship.

5 ways contract cleaning companies can boost retention

Pay wages correctly, and in a timely manner

It makes sense that one of the key things a company can do is pay a satisfactory wage. Many operators get caught out by underpaying their employees for the time they spend travelling to each client destination, and this can sometimes end up with them being paid under the minimum wage. Cleaning companies should always offer their staff a living wage to boost retention rates. Cleaning management software that tracks and calculates employee mileage, along with a payroll suite can ensure that employees are paid correctly for the work they do.

Offer flexibility and transparency with shift allocation

With many cleaning staff balancing multiple jobs or contract with numerous firms, it’s important to offer total flexibility where shifts are concerned. With the right scheduling and workforce management software, balancing changes and ensuring that employees can swap their working hours if needed. Cleaners are more likely to stay with a company if they have flexible shifts that allow for things like childcare, public transport and last-minute shift swaps.

Focus on training and personal development

Many see cleaning as unskilled work, but the world of professional cleaning is growing rapidly, and the best businesses offer development, training, progression and stability for their workers. Ensure that your team know there is a route forwards and that is opportunities to gain new skills and take on different responsibilities. Cleaning can be just as much of a career as law or medicine, and if you invest in your staff, they will repay it with loyalty and pride in their work.

Look at your onboarding process

It can be frustrating as an employee to not understand the job or the expectations. A good onboarding and training program sets people up for success. A workforce management system can help you to put the right processes in place to ensure that employees have a seamless and enjoyable start to their employment journey. Organise things like shift shadowing, book time in schedules for catch-ups and 1-2-1s, and pop training course dates in their personal records.

Improve safety procedures

The HSE say “Lone working does not always mean a higher risk of violence, but it does make workers more vulnerable. The lack of nearby support makes it harder for them to prevent an incident.” So contract cleaning leaders should carefully consider what they can do to improve the safety of workers. A dedicated workforce management system with a companion app for cleaners can help by providing geo-location tags for cleaner clock-ins and the ability to provide instant communication to those working alone.

Want to know more about the software that can help your business? Check out our workforce management hub.