Raising Retention & Crafting Company Culture
We had a chance to sit down and chat with Justin Reus, Operations Manager at Zoë Facility Services, a fast-growing commercial janitorial company based in Indiana. Out of the many things Zoë does exceptionally well, one seems to stand above the rest, and drive their success more than anything else. That one thing is employee retention through a strong sense of company culture. Their company mission statement is:
“Our passion is serving people. Cleaning is merely a vehicle that allows us to attain that.” – Zoë Facility Services
The results speak volumes of how happy, engaged employees, create happy engaged clients, and drive growth. For your reading pleasure, here is a selection of some of the interesting talking points of our chat.
If you want to hear the rest, you can check the replay of our webinar here, or if you haven’t got time to watch, you can listen to the podcast version here.
Q- You have mentioned to me that your company saw serious gains by investing in better company culture practices. Can you elaborate on how this kind of practice translates into dollars?
A- Investing in our culture saw explosive gains professionally. We understood that by taking an interest in what our employees wanted, potential clients were more eager to work with us because they had worked with cleaning companies who struggled with a revolving door of employees. Without stability, the service that they were receiving was a roller-coaster. Our culture and retention rates became perhaps our most attractive quality to potential buyers.
Q- I think most would agree, communication is key to success on almost every level of business. How do you use communication as a driving factor for your company?
A- The biggest driving force in our culture is communication! Nobody wants to be in the dark. Employees want to know what is happening in real-time. Swept facilitated that for us. It unified dayside and nightside teams and made everyone feel as though they were working as a unit.
Q- So you’ve got some interesting programs in place to keep employees engaged and active. Like RAK…tell us about that.
A- Creating programs that focused on community, and not cleaning, was huge for us. We instituted RAK Attacks (Random Acts of Kindness) where the leadership team and employees get together to do something nice for our community. We pass out coffee to the homeless. We deliver roses to nursing homes. We did a food drive. We wanted our employees to feel like they were worth more. We partnered with an institute in Africa (AHI) that teaches hospitality and skills to people without access to proper full-time education. Our employees are continually aware that they are a part of something more than scrubbing toilets.
We instituted a LITERAL open-door policy. None of our offices have doors. We want our employees to know that they can come to us for anything. Ideas, complaints, whatever it might be…we are available to them.
Q- Now has your company has also been embracing the technological side of things outside of apps/software like Swept. We live in such a connected age now. What are your thoughts there?
A- We moved more toward technology and connection. Onboarding documents are online. Training programs can be completed on their phones. Even the Swept app. Appealing to our society’s hunger to utilize connections such as social media was huge. We are consistently driving cutting-edge technology because of the way employees respond to those mediums. Being able to access whatever our employees want, from anywhere, has created a culture of “buy-in” and excitement.
Q- So, I am sure those tuning in are curious to know, what is the process you sell this culture to potential clients. Do you use it as a talking point when doing proposals?
A– We’ve witnessed the growth of our business through culture. We cover nearly 6 million sq. ft. every single day. With an executive leadership team of only 6 people, managing those spaces without culture would be impossible. Our programs and investment in our people drive performance in their work. We don’t have to watch over our employees’ shoulders every step of the way. The culture we’ve been able to create drives their desire to perform well and at a consistently high level.
Q- Let’s talk numbers. Turnover in the janitorial industry can be high, like well over 100% right? What is the actual number? And where does your company sit?
A- Janitorial turnover rests around 200% in the first 30 days alone. Through culture and investment in our employees, we currently have a 92% retention rate. Janitorial isn’t for everyone so we make sure that we are appealing to more than just a job. Keeping employees engaged and interested isn’t easy but it’s worth it.
So strong communication, a literal “open door” policy, putting random acts of kindness out into the world. These things keep employees not only engaged but also gets them feeling a real, tangible sense of purpose. It is easy to see how that translates into less of the “revolving doors” the janitorial industry is famous for, a stronger work ethic, and of course, happier clients!