Not all janitorial companies are created equal and there’s one thing that separates the leaders from the pack.
When you spend over twenty-two years in the janitorial cleaning service industry like we have one of the things you learn is that the best companies have the best people. But that might lead you to ask, Well, how did it get to be that way?
There’s usually a pretty big divide between the companies that make it in this industry and those that don’t. We can say that the greatest divide between companies that make it and those that don’t is its personnel.
You can see it in good companies, their managerial staff, their communication, their frontline staff — they simply do a better job. And a lot of that starts with their hiring practices.
I want to share a little bit about why that matters with a true story.
Janitorial service job hiring practices
Back in 2011, after being in the janitorial business for 11 years, we decided to re-examine our company. As part of the process, we hired a consultant to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest challenges we faced back then was hiring and retaining quality personnel. That included motivating them to better help us serve our customers.
Prior to 2011, however, we would schedule our hiring days shortly after posting an ad to Craigslist.com or Monster.com. The job post included the job title, pay per location, and not much else. We would then conduct about 90 interviews at our warehouse offices. Unfortunately, we did not receive the highest caliber of personnel. To make matters worse, we simply didn’t have enough time to interview everyone in great detail thoroughly.
What successful janitorial companies look for in new recruits
A few weeks after we began working with the consultant, he sat down with us and had us explain who our best team members were and why. We described some of the characteristics that made our people so good. We used descriptive terms like responsible, punctual, reliable, honest, dependable, caring, thoughtful, and communicative, just to name a few. We compiled a list of 20 characteristics we felt best described our rock star staff members.
Completing this exercise allowed us to realize these characteristics described all the high-performers in our company. They had strong decision-making abilities. They had the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges and think better on their feet. They anticipated problems before they happened.
We also noticed these same types of people were drug-free and could easily pass a background check.
The consultant then asked us to start hiring people that had these types of characteristics. It forced us to be very clear about the type of team members we brought into our company.
Janitorial service hires: quality over quantity
A month later we held another hiring event. Instead of 90 people showing up only nine turned up. But of the nine people that showed up, five of them were the high-quality team members we were looking for. Two of them are still with us over a decade later.
What we realized is that when you are intentional about the type of people you hire, and provide the right resources to help them succeed, they can truly accomplish incredible things.
Working in the commercial cleaning industry has taught us that the most significant difference between average companies and leaders in the space is separated by the training and systems available to its staff. And that staff begins with the proper hiring processes.