It’s no secret that hiring and retaining reliable staff for your cleaning company is one of the top challenges that janitorial business owners struggle with.

MM Magazine’s BSC Business Roundup had this challenge at the top of the list again this year, reporting that 85% said recruiting and retaining staff was their number one challenge.

We know from our days as a cleaning company, that when your staff is constantly changing it can have a negative impact on quality of service and customer satisfaction.

That’s why we focused on finding ways to fight this revolving door of employees, and made employee retention one of our core strengths. This gave us a leg up on our competition.

The good news is that there are lots of reasons why employees stay with a company, and many aren’t related to pay.

In this post, we talk about how to create an employee recognition program —a low-cost, high impact solution that you can start using right away.

Employee Recognition = Employee Retention

Employee recognition should a central part of your retention strategy because it leads your employees to a greater sense of satisfaction in their job and loyalty to your company.

When they feel connected to their job beyond just a paycheck, they’ll be more inspired to go above and beyond.

Studies show that companies that have employee recognition programs far outperform companies that don’t.

For example, a recent survey by Badgeville found that 83% of employees said recognition for their contributions is more fulfilling than any rewards and gifts, and 71% said that the most meaningful recognition they have received had no dollar value.

What happens when people start thanking each other? Trust within your organization and team engagement goes up. And trust and engagement are two key drivers to operational success.

So if you’re in a position where margins are tights and you can’t afford to compensate employees much more than minimum wage, it’s important to remember the top reasons that people typically stay with a company when working on how to retain your employees.

The top 3 reasons people stay at a job

  • They like the people they work with

  • They feel they have opportunity for growth

  • They feel recognized for their contribution

The science shows that recognition is beneficial for more than just these logical reasons. It actually has a physiological impact on performance. When you recognize someone’s efforts, their brain releases oxytocin. The same hormone that makes people feel loved and appreciated.

But not all recognition is created equal.

Beyond highlighting why employee recognition is an important part of your retention strategy, in this post we’ve highlighted the elements of a good recognition program, and what steps you can take to transform company culture.

Create a Successful Employee Recognition Program

1. Make it Specific

Recognizing the specific results achieved or behaviors demonstrated is a more tangible way to link your employees’ actions to the goals and values of your company.

For example, if going above and beyond to look out for the best interests of your clients is something you’d like your employees to do more of, you could recognize an employee in a situation where they proactively reported a potential problem at a client site, allowing your management team to address the issue before it escalated into a customer complaint.

2. Make it Inclusive

Studies show that recognition from colleagues can often hold as much weight as recognition from direct supervisors. Encourage everyone to participate in your recognition program and give praise to their colleagues.



3. Make it Visible

Offering praise privately can be meaningful, but offering praise publicly magnifies the impact and offers colleagues the opportunity to join in. Even if you’ve already given an employee positive feedback privately, you might consider highlighting their efforts at your next staff meeting or by posting in your online group chat.

4. Make it a Story

Giving recognition is a great way to teach your team about the behaviors that lead to success. Stories are one of the easiest forms of communication to remember, which makes them a great learning tool.

Give your story a beginning, middle, and end by:

1) Defining the problem;

2) Explaining what the employee did about it and what was good about their actions;

3) Describing the result of their actions.

5. Make it Timely

Recognition has more impact if it is immediate. If an employee does something good, try to recognize it as soon as possible (waiting a day or two at most.)

6. Make it Easy

Provide dedicated space or time for this activity so that it becomes familiar and easily accessible for everyone on your team to participate.

For example, if you have daily or weekly team meetings you can share recognition stories here. If your staff is typically more scattered, a virtual logbook or group chat message can also be a great space to share this type of praise.

7. Make it a Habit

When you’re trying to create cultural change like this within your organization, it’s important to practice giving feedback and recognition often so that it becomes a habit. The more recognition you give, the more familiar and comfortable employees will feel about it, and the more likely they are to participate.

The other benefit of doing it often is that it doesn’t feel as formal and uni-directional (only coming from you,) so everyone can easily participate.

Keep in mind that it’s also important to form a habit of it because on the flip side, providing feedback too infrequently can lead employees to feel undervalued and also means that if you aren’t looking for them, you are more likely to miss out on appropriate opportunities for recognition.

Start Taking These Simple Steps Today.

It doesn’t take much to change the way your employees feel about their work and about working for your company. An employee recognition program is a great way to reduce the likelihood of turnover and boost productivity.

However, none of these strategies are possible without good communication. Focus on communication that recognizes the behavior you want to see and everyone will benefit.

Let’s hear from you! What has your company done to make recognition part of your company culture? How has it helped? What have you learned?

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