Skilful recruitment

27th of March 2018
Skilful recruitment

Lorraine Thomas, managing director of Metzger Search & Selection talks about how companies attract and retain the best talent in the market.

Contract cleaning is a vibrant industry with a wide variety of businesses, from owner–managed SMEs to multinational corporate companies. The low start-up costs make the industry extremely dynamic and a desirable vehicle for entrepreneurial success. It is developing into a meritocratic industry where hard work is rewarded with progression.

While the barrier to entry is accessible, attracting the right people and creating a strong team is still vital to securing long-term business and contract extensions.  Contractors will always have to be one step ahead to keep their clients happy by exercising a customer-focused approach, and undertaking successful professional relationship-building.

Preferred employers

There are certain challenges to how a business becomes the preferred employer in an industry which is full of opportunity, but may not always be at the top of the list for talented individuals in the support services sector.

Over the last 10 years it wasn’t unusual for many cleaning operatives to start off by working to top-up their earnings, perhaps while studying. The teamwork and camaraderie in the cleaning industry has been known to persuade these workers to stay on as they enjoyed the job. The initial attraction of an active, non desk-based job with flexible working hours could be replaced with the prospects for progression and this is how talent can be developed in-house.

These days, this only applies to those who wish to invest in career themselves progression with one company as the gig economy has become a popular means of working for the ‘millennial’ generation, who prefer more flexible working hours rather than being a permanent member of staff.

For the ones who remain, and ultimately become business leaders, the best follow a path through to management and up to director level. Key skills are passed down from experienced team members and managers, up to the point at which external providers are needed to take the development to the next level. Training then becomes a vital resource as employees who are progressing through the ranks may need to learn more about IT, finance, management or health and safety to add to their proficiencies.

Get support

There is support available from the independent training bodies in each European country. Operatives who show initiative and willingness to train from the outset are often the ones who will fare well higher up the management ladder.

When looking for new management talent, the groundwork needs to be put in at the beginning to ensure a successful recruitment campaign. The first part of the recruitment process is to understand the strategic goals of the business and the plans that are in place to achieve them. From this the role can be understood as part of the overall picture in terms of hierarchy, succession planning and ultimately the recruitment policy.

Once this is understood the person specification needs to be mapped out in terms of the motivations, aspirations and key skills needed to perform in the role. It is also worth determining why the candidate needs to   come from the cleaning sector and how looking further afield may be beneficial. Often an external viewpoint can be useful at this stage to give a broader perspective, especially if specialist industry knowledge can be applied.

Create the right team

Metzger has success stories of employees from other complex service industries such as catering and security who have moved seamlessly into the cleaning industry. The sometimes complex nature of tendering for or running a cleaning contract can be comparable to these sectors and therefore, talented individuals can make the transition and become assets. By bringing in new talent from other allied industries, companies gain a fresh perspective and often benefit from new ideas, while fostering loyalty in an employee who gains industry knowledge from their new employer.

In the end, valuing your employees and creating the right team for your organisation will go a long way to making your client relationship, your employees and your business successful. In uncertain times, with political and economic shifts on the horizon, offering a stable and reliable
employment culture, will help you grow and retain a skilled and satisfied workforce who will also invest themselves in your organisation.


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited