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Challenges facing the attraction and retention of cleaning staff

Many UK-based cleaning contractors are recognised for having a high turnover of employees. Cleaning is often taboo and unattractive to the younger generation and can be seen as a transient occupation rather than a career. Retaining good employees in our current political and economic climate is very challenging and is likely to continue to cause problems for the industry.  It is these challenges that mean retaining good employees can cause issues for cleaning companies, as more time and money ought to be channelled into hiring and training new employees.

Twenty-three per cent of Birkin’s workforce is made up of migrant workers from Europe and they are highly valuable members of the cleaning workforce. With the uncertainty around Brexit, we are already seeing a reduction in the workforce, as European workers leave due to the uncertainty surrounding their status.

As the information provided by the government is not entirely clear, Birkin have taken it upon themselves to communicate further guidance to our employees and train our site management on the impacts and expectations our team may experience following Brexit, as well as what they can do to better their understanding of how it may affect them. With a 95 per cent employee retention rate, we want to ensure that our staff have the information available to them to reduce any worry or panic.

Fair wages will make cleaning a more viable and attractive job option for UK workers. Birkin is proud to say that we have been a member of the Living Wage Foundation for the last three years and, as of 12 June 2019, we were one of the first cleaning contractors to sign up to the new endeavour of delivering Living Hours where possible. This is a very positive move for the industry and Birkin is proud to be a part of it.

In our experience, employees welcome the opportunity for further and thorough training. In order to market the cleaning industry as a career option, not just a stop-gap job, it is imperative that we also deliver the opportunity to further develop skills. This will help existing employees feel properly equipped to do their job and should help to reduce turnover on account of not feeling fully supported.

Although the UK’s economy may be experiencing uncertainty, there are still ways we can combat the challenges it poses. Employees must feel and be supported and valued by management teams and we must all work together to ensure a positive culture and a healthy working environment for the cleaning industry.

About the Author: Birkin are the service-led commercial cleaning experts and our ever-growing and highly-trained team take great pride in our work. We deliver high-quality cleaning services to our clients in a flexible and collaborative way.



About Sarah OBeirne

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