By Mike Doherty, President, BMS
Anyone who watches the news lately knows that the economy is coming back to life. Things like the Delta variant can affect this, but generally, we see most sectors picking up.
One of the side effects of this pick-up is the difficulty in finding and retaining quality workers, particularly in the service business. Restaurants, retail, building service firms are raising wages and offering incentives just to get people in the door.
In our business, it is particularly important to have a stable, motivated staff providing services to our clients. Building owners and tenants want to know that the same people are in their spaces every day. Familiarity and comfort with service staff are a factor in leasing and renewals of commercial offices. High turnover in the staff leads to tenant complaints and poorer service. New staff must be trained, costing the service provider time and money.
At BMS, we have thought long and hard about this. The good news for us is that we already baked in many of the programs other employers are now utilizing. We determined long ago that the best investment we could make was in our own people. Alongside great benefits in general, some of our additional programs are as follows:
This program is approximately 10 years old and offers over 100 courses to our management staff. Courses such as ESL, Report Writing, Personnel Management, OSHA Compliance, etc.
We have found that everybody wants to be sitting down quarterly (rather than annually). Our employees know that we are evaluating them, and equally important, they can give us their feedback and suggestions.
Money always motivates. This is why we reward staff monetarily for jobs well done, including gift cards or cash bonuses when an employee goes above and beyond or receives a client compliment. We also incentivize staff through tuition reimbursements and year-end performance bonuses.
Creating career paths for both management and frontline staff is a key component of long-term retention. Most senior BMS management (including yours truly!) started as Porters. By engaging with our employees and promoting from within, we have shown that BMS doesn’t just provide jobs, but careers.
Third parties provide and/or audit many of these processes to ensure that they are current, impartial, and effective. BMS works with OSHA, ISSA, and Green Seal to provide education and certification to all our managers. I assure you that I ace my GS-42 test every year.
To be sure, BMS still has the challenge of finding qualified, motivated applicants. The difference at BMS is that once we find them, we keep them. Our turnover rate is a small fraction of our industry published rate.
We are very proud of the culture we have established at BMS, but it is not so complicated. Find good people, give them training and feedback, incentivize and push them forward.
So far, so good.