Recruiting and retaining office cleaning staff

One of the many effects of the pandemic is the impact on availability of staff within the UK workforce.  Coupled with Brexit, which has limited the numbers of workers from the EU, worker shortage particularly in low-paid jobs is becoming a real concern for the UK.  The commercial cleaning sector is no exception.  This blog looks at the challenge of recruiting and retaining office cleaning staff.

Cleaning viewed as a low paid sector

The cleaning industry has historically been a low pay sector.  Typically characterised with a vicious cycle of high levels of staff turnover and absenteeism leading to operational inefficiency, low standards and moral, and low productivity.

Greater demand for office cleaning and hygiene

At the same time the pandemic has led an increased demand for office cleaning and hygiene services.  2020 has highlighted the importance of cleaning to deliver COVID-safe workplaces to give confidence to returning workers.

The issue now for the industry is recruiting and retaining office cleaning staff.

Recruiting cleaning staff

Finding the right cleaning staff from the start is key.  The best candidates often make the best long-term employees.  Being clear from the initial job advert about the role and responsibilities, the hours and the expectations will attract a higher quality cleaner.

Retaining cleaning staff

High staff turnover rates on a cleaning contract leads to lack of stability, knowledge and continuity.  It often has a negative effect on team morale with increased workloads and reduced productivity as new staff learn the role.  More time is also required for staff right to work checks and training, all of which reduce the cleaning hours on site.

There are many factors which affect staff retention.  Below we have highlighted four of the main actions to reduce cleaning staff turnover rates.

  • Invest in quality training

Training covers a wide range of areas such as health and safety and how to use the chemicals and equipment.  And of course, training in how to clean and sanitise effectively is particularly relevant.

Training ensures that cleaners understand exactly what standards are expected of them, and why it matters to the client.  Taking time during sessions to make sure that everyone in the team understands this will lead to sense of ownership and pride.

  • Invest in efficient machinery

The cleaning industry is undergoing big changes and there are many new and innovative tools and processes which significantly improve efficiency and productivity.  This applies to equipment, software and chemicals.

An iMop for example works up to ten times faster than traditional mop and bucket, reducing the strain on the operative.  Investing in efficient machinery means the cleaning teams can focus on hygiene and making office spaces safe and clean.

  • Paying the Living Wage

Paying cleaning teams the Living Wage is not only a good thing to do, it makes business sense.  Rewarding staff a fair wage increases morale, enthusiasm and engagement.  It also gives people a sense of pride in their job which in turn reduces absenteeism and sickness.  Now more than ever, payrates need to be attractive to both recruit and retain the right calibre of staff.

  • Showing respect and improving communication

Making cleaning staff feel part of the team and showing respect is vital to promote loyalty and maintain good working relationships.  Saying thank you to cleaners and acknowledging good work is a positive example of how a little can go a long way.

TemcoUK Facility Services – An employer of choice

Temco has a proven track record of professional competence and client retention.  Our focus on cleaning excellence supports our aim of being an Employer of Choice.

We are committed to the provision of ongoing, effective employee training to create a quality driven and highly motivated workforce. We have access to the same labour market as our competitors, but we take the competitive edge through other factors.  For example our expertise in getting the best from staff, training and developing them to deliver productivity significantly above average.

Temco is a committed Living wage employer. By paying the living wage and investing in our staff, embracing technology and innovation, having good systems and processes all makes for our strong business foundation that delivers a happy workforce, satisfied customers and long- lasting business relationships.

Working in an industry which is traditionally associated with low pay and inefficiency, we believe our success lies in how we recruit, retain, motivate, train and reward our staff.   If you are thinking of switching your cleaning provider, please contact Temco today 01895 520370.