I am an active member in my local Chamber of Commerce and have been since joining in October 2019. Check out one of my first episodes from Dec 2019 called, "I'm the Only Cleaner", where I shared my initial impression of joining my first-ever chamber in 15 years in business at that point. Also check out the episode, "Get a Name for Doing", where I was mentored by fellow chamber member and leadership coach Ken Byler of Higher Ground Consulting. Ken taught me how to add the most value to the chamber and make the greatest difference. Ken was SO right. I dove in right away and was able to make a big difference during Covid. I developed a reputation and name for doing. I've never taken my foot off the pedal in my goal to get a name for doing and adding value. Last fall, I joined the Membership Committee and immediately helped them determine how to have greater impact with the current membership as well as how to add more. I suggested that we, the membership committee of 8 members call the entire membership of 300 to connect with them and ask them some questions. Here's what we asked.
1. What is your business's greatest struggle?
2. How can the chamber help you in this struggle?
3. What is the chamber's blind spot? What are we doing that we shouldn't and what aren't we doing that we should?
The list of members was sent out and we each selected who we would volunteer to call from October through December 2022. I was a little ambitious and selected 60. The others teased me a little, but they were impressed. I then took time each week and emailed and called every single one of the 60. Most were difficult and unreachable. I made contact in some form with over 20 and had meaningful 30+ minute conversations with 15 members. It was amazing! I had so much fun and met some great fellow members of the chamber. After I was done, I created a report and submitted it to the chamber office. I had no idea that this report would become the basis of the 2023 5-Year Chamber Strategy Session. I was invited into this board-only process as a special guest. The work I did for the chamber and the growth we had in Carfagno Commercial Cleaning (C3) locally made our cleaning company the unanimous choice for the 2022 Cornerstone Award. This is a prestigious award for Small Business of the Year in the Indian Valley Chamber. It's amazing to see this play out now. I simply did what Ken Byler advised and it earned me the top reputation among all companies in my local community. This is leading to tremendous influence and business growth.
That first part was an update and sales pitch for WHY you should join your chamber, especially if you're in commercial cleaning. Let's switch gears. We, as a membership committee, learned through actual data and 1-on-1 conversations that the #1 struggle our members are facing is hiring. They were very concerned with how to find quality applicants, how to retain them, and what's going on out there in our culture? Why don't young people want to work? Where's the ambition?
The chamber of commerce is an international organization. They operate independently, but are well connected. Our chamber executive director, Steve Hunsberger, is very plugged in at the local, county, state, and federal levels to learn and bring back to us, the small business owners in the community. Steve is seeing similar struggles nationwide. The workforce is declining. Businesses are getting nervous. They are having more trouble picking up clients as hiring is affecting them and both their clients and them cannot hit their growth goals. We learned that this was not a local problem, but small business everywhere is struggling to find & retain quality employees.
What is going on? I would first like to share some first-hand answers from local businesses that I talked to.
· A workplace culture with a sense of belonging has always been important. I've noticed the workplace historically (rigid) has changed. People like working from home. Mental illness has become a major problem, skyrocketing since Covid.
· Aging workforce, several retirements at firm. The challenge is not one that we can meet. It is very expensive to hire.
· The younger people want everything through text. Communication is lost through text. No one was applying. There are a ton of full-time openings. Workers used to value starting at the ground floor and working their way up. They had long-term vision. That doesn’t exist now. What is causing the culture shift, less wanting to work and loss of ambition? Where are the ambitious people. Aging workforce is creating these full-time openings (early retirees). The workforce is lazy and unmotivated. There are a lot of entitled, especially in the younger demo. The older demo is coming out of retirement as they need money. How do we change the culture?!
I am also very invested in our industry, both commercial and residential. I have the privilege to speak to cleaning business owners every week over text, social media, Zoom calls, and 1-on-1 phone calls. I've seen the same trends with hiring. Cleaning companies that are hiring for full-time positions have never struggled as much as they have been. In my observations, the companies with the fewest hiring problems are the best in their respective areas at attracting quality candidates. They are standing out in their communities with how they operate and how they treat their people. These cleaning company leaders have a vision. They have a mission that inspires and doesn't just hang on a cubicle wall. They have core values that people want to be a part of. They are creating a magnet that is attracting the best and brightest and most ambitious in this current generation of workers. I find this incredibly exciting. We, as leaders, can either struggle in the masses or set ourselves apart. At C3, we have set ourselves apart by our mission, vision, and values and our involvement in the community. Sharp, young professionals want to work for us part-time as a side-gig nights and weekends to help pay their bills, save for travel, or pay off debt. They really connect with our vision as a 10-Talent Stewarding Company and our mission of 1,000 smiling faces every Monday morning in the professional, financial, and medical office spaces that we clean in the Indian Valley. They love (and they let me know in long emails) our core values of Excellence, Ownership, and Safety. I am inspiring people locally to consider a cleaning job, when they've likely never thought of it before.
Let me take this to the next level. Recently, the Ramsey Solutions Team put out a phenomenal livestream with Dave Ramsey, Mike Rowe, and other Ramsey personalities and renown authors. This event was called "The Real Reason People Are Giving Up on Work | America’s Labor Crisis Livestream". The team at Dave's EntreLeadership crushed this. They have tons of stats on work in this REPORT. I was not planning to rehash this entire 2 hour and 22 minute livestream. I want you to check it out and learn. I will share some stats and points that did two things. They either blew my mind or totally agreed with what we've already discovered in our local chamber. Here's the stats from the free report.
· 11.3 million small-business owners say they are struggling to find employees who can do the work they need.
· Over half (55%) of small-business owners with 50 or more employees say retaining their existing staff has been very challenging.
· Nearly one-quarter (23%) of small-business owners say they’ve had to shorten business hours due to worker shortages.
· One in 4 (24%) small-business owners have stopped offering certain services due to staffing challenges.
· 44% of small-business owners say increasing wage levels have put pressure on their bottom line.
· 51% of small-business owners have raised prices recently to help offset increasing wages for employees.
· 42% of small-business owners say they have experienced burnout in the past year.
During the Live stream, I was particularly struck by the comments made by Ken Coleman at the 1 hour and 10 minute mark. Ken shares these stunning facts.
PROBLEM #1 Our American School System – It has created a generation of test-takers vs. map-makers. These kids are taught to conform verses think for themselves. This stifles creativity. They are told STILL in 2023 that college is the path to success. This is not true anymore. This generation of young people are entitled, confused, and frustrated. They followed the system and it isn't working. They are giving up.
PROBLEM #2 Helicopter Parents – They created the "everyone gets a trophy" culture. They are praised for participating vs producing. Well-meaning parents believe they are protecting their kids' feelings. We are protecting them from doing hard things and scary things. Doing hard things produces GRIT. Doing scary things produces GUTS. The data shows that Millenials and Gen Z'ers want more money and more mobility based on showing up! It's about participation, not production. This is how they've been raised. This kills ambition. They are entitled to believe they will get a participation award in the workplace (more money, promotions). When they don't get it when THEY believe they deserve it, they leave and get on the hamster wheel somewhere else.
OPPORTUNITY Employee Engagement Study – Research from Gallup in the largest study in employee engagement ever done. There are 3 primary human needs that everyone needs met. We as leaders NEED to be aware of this.
1. People need meaning in their work – They don't want to show up to be a part of a losing team. Deep down, they want to win and they want to know what winning is. Show them through meaningful mission, vision, values and living them out all the time. This will attract them big time.
2. Recognition for their unique contribution – This is in money, appreciation, and recognition in front of others.
3. Relationship with their leader – They need a coach not a boss to help them lead a productive life. Great coaches have clear and consistent communication. What is expected? What are you scored on and how it works and how it is measured? Checking in regularly is vital. Coaches connect and get to know their players and not treat them all the same. They are special and unique. Challenging them and they know why. Great coaches correct to keep them on track. Many of these young people NEVER had this in their life. They've only participated. This generation wants to make a difference and they crave mentorship.
I highly encourage you to listen to the entire livestream. Dave Ramsey and Mike Rowe do have some tips to help the labor crisis right now. The majority of the points they make are explaining WHY we have this crisis and how we can steer the ship in the right direction again for this generation and the next of American workers.
You can fix your hiring woe's, even in the midst of a labor crisis. Our show sponsor has it figured out. Debbie Sardone joined the Smart Cleaning School last month and shared the reasons WHY her Cleaning Business Fundamentals students are hiring and retaining effectively. In this recent interview, "CBF Success Stories with Debbie Sardone and Friends", Debbie shared the 6 components of her CBF proven system. 2 of the 6 were hiring and retaining related. Debbie calls the first, "Unique Empowered Pay". She explains that this attracts and retains "career cleaners" vs. "chronic quitters". She touts this one component of CBF as the most vital to establishing a struggle free employee model for the health of your cleaning business. The second is the "Culture of Quality Employer Training System", which trains new cleaners efficiently and in scale. We also interviewed 3 current CBF students. Their results have been incredible! I highly recommend CBF to any residential cleaning company looking to scale to 7 figures. Check out the Smart Cleaning School's CBF Exclusive Deal. Get Debbie's impactful "Succeeding on First Time Cleans" for 50% OFF and a free CBF discovery call with Debbie or one of her certified CBF Coaches! Just go to smartcleaningschool.com/resources and you'll find "Featured Sponsor" at the top of the page. If you want to scale your residential cleaning business to a million dollars, get CBF now!
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