The top ten reasons why employees might leave your maid service

July 16, 2022 in Business, Hiring & Training

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

The following article is based on a talk given by Martha Woodward at the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

At one point, Martha Woodward hated her own company. Now, her formerly toxic work environment is a thriving culture built on mutual love, respect, quality, and accountability. Martha is the co-founder of Quality Driven Software, a software designed to track customer and employee satisfaction. Graduate of the Heroic Public Speaking Grad Program, Martha puts her expertise to work as a public speaker. Her topics include Employment Engagement Programs, Empowering Your Workforce, Company Culture, Pay Performance, and Cultural Turnaround. 

It’s more important than ever to retain your best employees

Can we agree on this?

  1. Recruiting is harder than ever 
  2. It’s more important than ever to retain your best employees
  3. Leading employees is hard

To scale our businesses, we have to know how to lead employees effectively to have a win-win for both parties. 

Why do employees leave?

The top ten reasons why employees leave:

  1. Bad boss
  2. The workload is too much 
  3. Lack of recognition
  4. Broken commitments 
  5. Coworker issues
  6. Lack of work flexibility 
  7. Lack of career advancement 
  8. Micromanagement 
  9. Unclear expectations
  10. Toxic company culture

In today’s article, we’ll focus on the first reason. 

Are you a bad boss? 

Just because employees leave doesn’t mean you are a bad boss. 

Some employees aren’t a good fit for your company even if you are a great leader – and that’s okay. You are bound to lose employees along the way. What we want to focus on is keeping your best employees.

In a survey of over 7000 employees, 50% of people quit their jobs to get away from a supervisor.

The good news is that you have control to change this statistic in your workplace. 

Let’s take a look at some of the problems we can address and eventually change. 

Reason #1: Are you allowing people with bad attitudes to stay?

Even if you are short-staffed, sooner or later it’s not going to work out with that employee. 

When a bad attitude is allowed to stay, your culture is going down. That bad attitude is a stain on everyone and everything. 

Think about it from your best employee’s viewpoint: If you’ve chosen to put up with a bad attitude because you’re short-staffed, you have made the choice that your top employee also has to put up with that attitude. Your best employee loses respect for you and decides to look for a job elsewhere. 

Many people believe that all employees are equal. The hard reality is that that’s not true –  there are employees who do everything for your company, (they’re rock stars!) and then there are employees who come into your system and create a toxic environment.

How do you fix this? 

Take the employee with a bad attitude through a disciplinary process. Either the employee will commit to change or leave the business. This is an effective way to “weed out” people with bad attitudes.

Reason #2: Are you making empty promises?

  1. You say one thing but don’t follow through
  2. Employees lose trust in you as a leader

For example, maybe an employee brings up a problem and you say, “okay, I’ll fix it” or “I’ll look into it” yet the employee never hears back from you. Perhaps you fixed the issue but you never touch base with this person. 

Follow through whether you can or cannot do something.

An employee is going to lose trust in you if you’re telling them one thing but doing another. You have to be consistent.

Reason #3: Management rarely listens

Sometimes employees come to us with unrealistic expectations or requests.

Whether or not you agree with your employees or whether or not you grant them something, you can always listen and make them feel valued.

Feeling overwhelmed with your maid service management duties? We can help. Learn how ZenMaid makes managing your cleaning business easier. 

Reason #4: Not feeling appreciated

  • Job isn’t fulfilling
  • “Why am I still here?”
  • No good feelings about the company

How to fix this: Make a point to give regular feedback and survey comments.

If you can’t make employees feel valued, then your job is a commodity to them. Their workday focus is how much they get paid versus how the job makes them feel. 

When using survey comments, employees log in and immediately see feedback from managers. A positive note like, “you did amazing work and made my day easier” can go a long way. 

You can also brag about your employees in a social media post. Not only do your employees see these positive comments, but your potential clients see them as well. 

Audiences like to see that your staff does great work and that you appreciate them. You can take it a step further and make a big deal of an employee in the recognition portion of a staff meeting.

Need some extra guidance creating a great company culture? You might like this article!

Reasons #5 & 6: Management is inconsistent with policies

It is a core need for human beings to know where they stand. 

If your employees don’t know where they stand, they have to wonder if today’s the day that they are going to get in trouble or fired. This is too subjective and feels like favoritism when you don’t have clear, consistent expectations. 

When you set up policies you need to stick to them and be transparent to the employee.

It is your job to make sure your policies are not hidden and not a surprise when they’re used. 

If you find yourself bending policies perhaps you need to rewrite them. 

You can amend policies to reward good performance and good attitudes

Example: A single mother of four is one of your outstanding employees. However, she has missed more days of work than your current allotment of unplanned absences in a six-month period. You alter your unplanned absence policy to reward good performance. Now, if an employee receives a quality score above the status quo, then this employee receives an extra absence day. This single mother of four has more flexibility, you get to keep a great employee, and your policies reflect the culture you want in your business. 

Reason #7: Management makes the same mistakes over and over again

When something is a repeated pattern, it becomes a choice. It’s not lack of training, it’s not lack of awareness – it’s a choice to not pay attention to the details. 

Repeated mistakes cause a hassle for everyone. Your best employees don’t want to look incompetent.

Reason #8: “I never know if I’m in trouble”

  • Termination should never be a surprise
  • The more unknowns, the less your employees will trust you

If a disciplinary process is required it should be consistent and transparent. Each step of the process should be clear, like a roadmap

Reason #9: I don’t feel like I can talk to my supervisor about my concerns

This boils down to a lack of trust.

If your employees can’t trust the leadership, then you’re not going to know about any problems. 

Problems don’t magically go away – they’re going to be discussed behind your back. If you don’t know about workplace issues then you can’t fix them. 

Building a culture based on trust requires vulnerability on both sides. 

You can give anonymous surveys to your employees to facilitate open discussion.

Reason #10: When there is an issue within the company, management avoids addressing the issue

Don’t wait for things to “blow up”.  

Frequent conversations are not only better – they’re much easier. 

People often say, “I hate confrontation.” Confrontation is necessary when you wait and let issues build up. When you have frequent and open conversations when a problem is tiny, it’s just a discussion.

Wrap up

Hopefully, you gained clarity on your management style from the ten reasons why poor leadership (a bad boss) negatively affects your employees. 

However, the purpose of this isn’t to make anyone feel bad or guilty. We are looking for solutions to problems! Fixing issues can set you on a path toward a more successful business.

Be self-aware of what you and your staff are doing, and then go fix it and create the positive culture you want.

(If you are interested in the “bad manager quiz,” use the QR code below)

Next steps!

If you found this article helpful for your maid service, you may also like:

For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 60 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business. 

To hear Martha Woodward’s full talk from the Maid Summit, click here

Try ZenMaid for free!


Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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