Recruitment and Becoming an Employer of Choice

When it comes to meeting growth aspirations or even just to maintain the status quo, there are many challenges that face business owners and senior management teams and I would argue that although each takes as much brain power as the next, there is one that for us (Goldcrest) provides the biggest obctacle on the path to sustained profitable growth, and that is recruitment.

Although Goldcrest operates across The Midlands our heartland is Coventry and Warwickshire ergo of our circa 240 staff most of them will live and work within 10 miles or so of our Head Office in Warwick and that’s because the majority of our clients are in this area. As most readers of this blog will know, Warwickshire has one of the highest employment rates in the country in fact at 79.5% it is currently above both the regional (72.8%) and national rates (75%). This won’t be big news to the many small and larger businesses operating in Coventry & Warwickshire because of course they are well aware of the challenges this particular issue has meant for their business for some time.

So, in a sub region that is starved of labour how can business attract good quality people to help fulfil the ambitions of shareholders and management or are we barking up the wrong tree and should we be looking towards innovation and IT to help solve the boots on the ground conundrum?

In the cleaning world, there is no doubt that innovation is key to delivering ever more environmentally friendly solutions and cost saving techniques or strategies and that’s all well and good however, we will always need people to deliver those services. Yes, of course we can put an operative on top of a big machine and ask them to polish the warehouse floor but as things stand, a machine can’t get down and clean behind the toilet or stack and empty the dishwasher, vacuum stairs or restock the soap dispenser. So, we need people, and that’s a good thing because good people are the backbone of a successful business.

That still leaves the dilemma of how to attract good people to your organisation at a time when competition for staff is very strong. At Goldcrest, we have adopted a number of strategies to help meet this challenge and it doesn’t include simply paying more money! We have always been competitive with our wage rates and link our contracts to the National Living Wage.

Amongst the strategies we have adopted is a comprehensive training and development programme for our people, be they Managers, Supervisors or front line cleaning staff. Each member of staff has their own training log which is both standardised and designed around the site on which they operate. The training covers everything from cleaning strategies and equipment usage to Health & Safety. We are also training our Area Managers and Supervisors to better understand both physical and mental health well-being, so that we can provide support when needed to those staff that are experiencing difficulties either at home or in the work place, such as those whose family circumstances may have changed, and they have found themselves as carers for a family member. In those circumstances we try to work with the staff member to find alternative hours/contracts that now fit with their new commitments. In addition to this training, we have also invested in IOSH certification for our Area Managers and Supervisors. The ISOH training isn’t just about risks in the work place or safe systems of working, it also highlights the consequences of not getting things right both in terms of the direct impact on the people involved as well as the legal ramifications for the business and Senior Management.

So, it’s not just about throwing money at people it’s about investing in their development, providing a safe working environment and being flexible enough to meet their needs as well as the needs of the business. This is just one of the strategies we feel will make us an attractive place to work and therefore an employer of choice in the cleaning sector and local area.

Alan Jones.

Managing Director.


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