Hiring (and Keeping) Exceptional Service Employees

Kyra Deprez

Finding, hiring and retaining the right employees is a struggle from day one, and truthfully, it probably *will be* all throughout the life of a service business.  It is one of the single hardest parts of running or managing any business.  And in field services particularly, this can be even more of a struggle.  Even when we aren’t hiring, we’re *always* taking applications! We do our best to get folks to come in-person so that we can get a better idea of who they are right from the get go.

In a recent conversation with a Michelle from Re-Maid in San Antonio we talked about some personal experiences and struggles with hiring and retaining good employees.

Hi Kyra!
How are you? Hope you had a wonderful Holiday/New Year!
I had a question for ya and would love to hear any advice you may have or have time to give– our biggest struggle seems to be finding (and retaining) quality employees. Do you have any insight to this? How many employees do you have?
We’re mainly relying on Craigslist right now, which is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Anyway, sorry to bother you with questions, but looking for any suggestions we can get!! 🙂

So you can see here that Michelle was struggling with the the two main concerns, where to find great employees and how to keep them from leaving. Unfortunately, turnover is a fact in any service industry.  Below you will see my comments based on personal experience that I shared with Michelle.

Hi Michelle,

Happy New year to you too!

Finding and retaining employees is always going to be a struggle.  We are currently sitting at 27 maid team members, and still struggle.  Although as you grow, in many ways it does get easier because you can actually over-staff, and have “extra” team members.

Here are a few things that have worked for us:

  • Use your existing team members to be recruiters.  We have incentivized our employees at times by offering a $25 bonus to the referring member for a new team member that came on and stayed for more than 30 days.  One of our best employees brought in 3 new girls in 1 week.
  • Advertise in the local jobs board at your Texas Workforce, as well as the local “free” paper that you see at the grocery store.  Like “The Thrifty Nickle”, “The Penny Saver” or any versions published in Spanish.
  • Make sure your current employees are well taken care so that they want to bring their friends and family on board.
  • We have a bonus system in place too, so that every quarter our top performers get a little something extra.  You have to watch out for this one too though and make sure to structure it on performance, not just longevity, otherwise you will have folks that stay on for the bonus even if they are not giving you everything that you need.
  • Add a “now hiring” section on your website with a form they can fill out.  We have a chat feature on our website as well, and often get direct inquiries to see if we are hiring.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link to the Performance Appraisal that we use for our bonus system. It is not only a great way to determine, what if any, bonus to pay out, but a great way to document your employees involvement in the company. The performance covers:

Communication

  • Communicates effectively with supervisors, team leads, office staff, and coworkers.
  • Reports immediately to office when there is a problem at client’s home, with car, with equipment…
  • Resolves issues with coworkers in an appropriate manner and deals tactfully with differences of opinion.
  • Effectively channels communication with all those who need to know and handles sensitive information appropriately.

Integrity/Accountability

  • Seeks to achieve results that are in the best interest of The Company.
  • Uses honesty and appropriate disclosure with clients, employees, and management.
  • Accepts responsibility and acknowledges problems or mistakes and commits to necessary corrective action.
  • Considers ethical issues before decisions are made.

Results Orientation

  • Delivers high quality results on time.
  • Overcomes roadblocks/setbacks to deliver results.
  • Identifies problems early and takes appropriate action.
  • Thinks outside of the box to achieve best results for the business and client

Teamwork and Collaboration

  • Demonstrates ability to get along well others.  Is respectful of coworkers and promotes teamwork.
  • Seeks out others’ opinions before making decisions that will affect them.
  • Takes the initiative to make things better.  Seeks out and/or accepts new or additional responsibilities readily.

Customer Focus (Internal and External)

  • Listens effectively and follows through.
  • Takes personal responsibility for ensuring issues raised by customers are responded to promptly.
  • Demonstrates dedication to meeting the expectations and requirements of the customer and the job.

Self Confidence and Assertiveness

  • Expresses own convictions or opinions even when adopting an unpopular position or facing opposition.
  • Displays confidence in interacting with people at all levels of responsibility, and in all parts of the organization.
  • Deals constructively with failures and mistakes and addresses conflict directly to resolve issues in a timely manner.

Job Competence

  • Carries out assigned job responsibilities.
  • Possesses the essential skills and technical ability needed to accomplish job responsibilities; seeks to continue developing new skills to adapt to a changing environment.
  • Meets goals and objectives.
  • Reliable

The key takeaway here is that keeping an open line of communication with your team including keeping them apprised of expectations can lead to employee loyalty.  It is a fact we all really like feedback, especially positive feedback.  Even if you are looking for ways to improve a certain aspect of your employees, putting the attribute into the right context can ensure a positive response.  The full performance appraisal includes a clear and concise way to use each of these factors to create a feedback profile for your employees.

It is a fact we all really like feedback, especially positive feedback. Click To Tweet

Kyra,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond and give me that insight— especially receiving your response so quickly yesterday.
The back story — I had one superstar employee whose last day was Friday — which was planned and I had known about for some time. But then yesterday morning at 6:20am, I received a “Quit” Text message from another employee who was having some personal issues. That took me from 5 employees to 3 overnight and, of course, I was having a minor heart attack yesterday…
Thankfully, yesterday we found a gem from Craigslist that is eager to dive in head first. But, with the help of your suggestions, we are branching out to other sources so we can (hopefully) avert this type of situation in the future.

If you missed this previous post 3 Policies to Reduce Risks it includes resources such as a background check, and an employee manual template.

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