Investing in the future

Jim Green works hard to
keep his employees happy,
knowing that how he treats them impacts how they
treat their customers.

And the customers seem to be
happy. As an example, the
founder, co-owner, chairman and
president of Aetna Maintenance
Inc. recalls a prospective customer who called an AMI customer for a reference.

“Our customer told them that
we made him feel like he was
our only customer,” Green says.
“That prospective customer is
now a customer.”

Green’s 1,500 employees provide commercial and industrial
janitorial maintenance, and the
company posted 2007 sales of
$23 million.

Smart Business spoke with
Green about how he attracts
and retains good employees.

Q. How do you build a strong
work force?

You have to keep your employees happy. We pay a competitive
rate for the employees, and if
they’re not happy with our company, they’ll go to work for someone else, and then we have to
retrain someone else.

We give them training, and we
make them comfortable in their
job. We don’t hire someone new
and just turn them loose. They
actually work with a trainer or a
supervisor on-site to get them
familiar with what they’re supposed to do, with equipment
and supplies.

If they’re doing a good job and
they’re happy at their job, our
customers will be happy. That’s
the whole key to growth.

Q. How does training benefit
your company?

There’s less turnover. If employees are trained and know what
you expect, they’re happier.

If everyone is paid the same
minimum wage, employees are
going to stay with the company
that treats them better than the
other companies. They’ll feel
comfortable in their job.

If you can cut (turnover) in
half, management doesn’t have
to spend time training new
employees, and they can
devote that time to better
checking the building and making sure our customers are
happy. We don’t ask our
employees to do something that our management team would not do.