Employee turnover can be a colossal issue for facilities managers. It can take several months before new employees reach the same productivity, engagement, and skill levels of their predecessors. And during training, they could be slowing down the growth of the company and drawing other staff members away from their work to help.
There’s also a high financial cost associated with turnover — average recruitment and training costs equate to six months’ worth of salary or more. So it’s well worth investing in strategies to retain facilities staff.
Not to mention, when current employees are happy, they’ll work harder to keep tenants happy. And when you do need to hire new staff, satisfied employees make recruitment and onboarding processes easier.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping employees engaged and fulfilled in their work so they’ll stay on for the long haul.
Start out strong
A good retention plan stresses choosing the right candidates and setting them up for success within the company.
Look for potential hires that had long stays at their past jobs and express long-term career plans in the industry. After hiring, check in with them to monitor their goals and determine what roles and responsibilities will suit them best as they progress.
Offer growth opportunities
Today’s employees consider learning and development opportunities critical to their decision to stay at a job — 94% would be willing to stay longer at a company that showed interest in offering growth opportunities.
Empowering employees to attend conferences and training programs and providing tuition stipends for higher education courses are some of the ways to keep staff members learning on the job. The more they learn, the more confident they’ll feel about their career and role in the company. These “heavy learners,” who spend more than five hours a week developing new skills, are 74% more likely to have a definite career plan and 48% more likely to find purpose in their work.
Educating employees also prepares them to move up into leadership roles within the company. And if they’re aware of that potential, they’ll be encouraged to stay on even when the work is challenging.
Create a positive work environment
For many employees, good relationships with coworkers and leaders and a strong sense of purpose is what motivates them to come into work every day.
Companies can nurture relationships through things like mentorship opportunities and team-building exercises. And they can foster a mission-driven workplace community by ensuring employees understand the “why” behind the work. If the end goal is to better serve tenants, they need to know how their role is essential to achieving that goal.
Rewards and recognition for quality work, whether it’s in the form of a raise, promotion, or a simple spoken acknowledgment, go a long way toward making employees feel valued. Employees who receive sufficient rewards for their work are seven times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. Additionally, employees who always have the option to provide candid feedback to their leaders will be more likely to talk through any concerns before seeking out another job.
What makes a workplace pleasant has to do with its physical amenities, too. From building security to ergonomic seating and an abundance of natural sunlight, employees should always feel safe and comfortable at work.
Employees generally expect health insurance, bonuses, and paid time off from their employers. But if the position comes with extra perks, such as stock ownership and association memberships, they may be less likely to leave.
Generous time-off policies are especially important, particularly when it comes to parental leave. Raising a child takes a lot of an employee’s time and attention. And if they return to work too soon after the child is born, they may become distracted, have to adjust their hours, or suddenly leave work due to things like child illness. They might also come to resent the company if its policies make this life stage more difficult for them.
Offering flexible hours and the choice to from home can help reduce workplace stress and promote work-life balance. Depending on the tasks at hand, you may need to adopt new technology to reduce the need for staff to be in the office.
Automate burdensome tasks
The above strategies for retaining facility employees depend on what time is available to spend on high-value tasks, education, and team building. Not to mention, it’s hard to offer remote work opportunities to employees who are tied to their desks.
Setting them free for these endeavors often requires handing off smaller, day-to-day tasks to automation. Software and technology can handle many cumbersome administrative, mailroom, and maintenance tasks. The time you’ll save by automating routine responsibilities opens up doors for staff to learn, grow, and contribute to the company in more meaningful ways.
And while there’s an initial cost to implement automated solutions, it’s a small price compared to the time and financial costs of losing an employee.