Hard-working frontline employees, many of them part-timers, can make or break companies in the service industry. Franchises like those in the building services contracting industry report that it is tough to find great part-time workers and even tougher to keep them.

Industry statistics are telling:

  • The building services contracting (BSC) industry averages a turnover rate of 150%.
  • In the BSC industry, 58% of new hires quit within the first 30 days.
  • A recent BSC survey shows that 35% of new hires are millennials, but the turnover rate among those younger workers is even higher than in other generations.

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services’ franchise owners have made improved employee recruiting and retention a priority. Todd Hopkins, founder and CEO of Office Pride, says treating people the right way is the first step. “When our franchisees hire people to work for them, they are asking themselves, ‘Is this the job for me?’ If they like their supervisor and co-workers, they’ll go on social media and tell their friends, which can help the franchisees in their hiring efforts. But if they don’t feel respected, you can bet they’ll post that on social media, too.”

The Office Pride franchise system has devoted more than a dozen of its weekly training podcasts to discussing best practices for hiring and retaining quality workers, and franchise owners are getting creative in how they find and keep part-time employees.

For example, Debbie Kowalik, the director of administration/HR at Office Pride of Tyler-Jacksonville, Texas, finds part-time workers through online application software, Facebook ads and job fairs. She also visits food banks and other places where people who need money would go, and she asks them to refer people who need work. She also has been known to give her business card to a young person who exhibits good customer service at a fast-food restaurant or to a cleaning lady working diligently outside a spotless mall bathroom.

Office Pride of Tyler-Jacksonville offers incentive bonuses to employees who refer friends who are hired. “When we get really good employees, we ask if they know of others who might be looking for part-time work,” Kowalik says. “We want to give people every opportunity to refer somebody, and we want to give people every opportunity to work.”

However, finding good people is only half the battle, says Kowalik. Then you have to keep them. At Office Pride of Tyler-Jacksonville, an employee who refers a qualified worker receives a referral bonus if both the employee and the referred party remain employed after 30 days, 90 days, six months, etc. After a year, employees receive a $10 gift card for every year they’ve worked with the company.

Additionally, every employee receives an extra $1 per hour worked if they take no time off during a two-week pay period. So, if they work 25 hours and take no time off, they earn an extra $25. Employees who work at least 30 hours receive five incentive passes per year that they can use if they are sick or need to take off time but want to protect that incentive pay.

“We offer orientation and training at different times of day so that people with full-time jobs don’t have to take off work to go to training,” Kowalik says. “And if people have to document hours worked to receive benefits, I let them know when I’ve filed the paperwork for them. It’s courtesy, and they appreciate the communication.”

Hopkins, Office Pride’s CEO, says onboarding is critical. “Many companies invest so much time and money to find employees, and then they rush through onboarding them. Instead, their supervisors need to get to know them and try to make them comfortable. Train them well. Help them get where they want to go in life. Help them realize how important the job they are doing is.”

He adds: “They can either spend the effort caring for and loving the folks they have, or they can spend the effort to find new ones.”

Bobby Halbrook is owner/general manager of Office Pride of Tyler-Jacksonville, Texas.