The Other Side of Insufficient Labor Force
How Facilities Maintenance Services Can Rebound Despite Labor Shortages in Other Industries
Over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the US economy is on its road to recovery and navigating through some long-lasting challenges. According to the Federal Reserve , the country’s economic recovery continues to be on track despite a rise in coronavirus infections. Having said that, the job market has evolved radically, with significant shifts attributed to several factors, including federal unemployment benefits.
While some businesses and lawmakers believe that the federal aid discourages unemployed individuals from returning to work that makes it harder to find workers for new jobs , there are industries that have a different experience. Many essential service providers have remained on the forefront of worker issues, vigilantly addressing worker concerns, and proactively resolving worker shortage to maintain uninterrupted operations. Labor shortage for janitorial and facilities maintenance industry, for instance, is not an unprecedented and uncommon challenge. With high turnover, it is common for most facilities maintenance companies to have faced manpower deficit frequently. Additionally, the janitorial and facilities maintenance industry was recognized as essential service during the pandemic. However, the companies that succeeded during these times of uncertainty were the ones that created strategies to rethink operations, workforce management, and other protocols to ensure operational continuity at all times. Within the facilities maintenance industry, employee turnover rate has reportedly reached over 200% but it has also been observed that numerous companies that experienced a labor shortage frequently debated the causes while other proactive and experienced service providers focused on solving the real problem.
“The important thing is to act because one thing is certain: You won’t solve your labor shortage by waiting for more workers to appear.”  – Bob Clements (President, Axsium Group – workforce management consulting firm)
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) , the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons remain well above their levels prior to the pandemic but have gone down considerably from April 2020 measures. Based on the nature of job requirements, changing customer demands, and existing employment situation, Diversified Maintenance is leveraging the positive outlook and recovery through effective recruitment and employee retention strategies. With turnover rates consistently lower than the industry average, some successful initiatives by Diversified Maintenance include:
- Employee training and development
- Incentives programs
- Positive learning environment
- Employee recognition and rewards
Other long-term strategies include the team of highly trained front-line managers who focus on reaching out through different hiring channels and local sources to access and hire the right people. Similarly, cross-training programs have also demonstrated effective outcomes, higher productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and softened impact of labor shortages.
A proactive approach to the existing unemployment challenges involves making small changes that can be implemented quickly and lead to big opportunities and benefits in the long run. Diversified Maintenance continued its essential services through the pandemic-driven shutdowns and has ensured the right steps and strategies to eliminate new challenges along the way.
 Reuters: Economic recovery remains on track despite COVID-19 surge
 USA Today: ‘I’d rather work’
 Workforce Institute UKG: 3 Ways to Fix Your Labor Shortage
 BLS: The Employment Situation June 2021