Feature articles

12 May 2021

Staff leaving because of you? Managing pest control teams


‘Most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers’ – why would that be?

Often it’s because the manager has no training on how to manage. There’s a misplaced belief that just because you were good ‘on the tools,’ you’ll also be good at managing.

BPCA Chief Executive Ian Andrew shares his insights on management training.


Becoming a manager is an entirely new skill set, yet it’s an area that many companies fail to invest in. What happens is that a new manager will likely manage based on the experience they’ve had from being managed. If they’re lucky, they’ll have had a positive experience of that.

Management culture

Managing people can be a challenge. It requires an investment in time and resources to do it well.

Think about it from your experience - when you were on the frontline, did you feel part of a team? Were your suggestions, concerns and challenges acknowledged and, when possible, acted on? Did you feel valued?

One manager with poor people skills can do significant damage to the culture and effectiveness of a business. Managers need to know how best to ensure their team’s skills and passion are harnessed.

The skills that make an employee a great technician are entirely different from those required for management.

Retaining talent

There’s more to achieving staff retention than how people are managed. However, it’s been quoted that up to 85% of staff leavers go because of their manager.

Staff want to feel appreciated. They need to feel they have progression opportunities, and that can be difficult in a small business.

Making training and development opportunities and career pathways available will help the team grow up in your business rather than searching elsewhere.

They need to be well remunerated and well rewarded, and that isn’t just about the money.

 Not everyone wants to progress into management, and you need to show a development pathway for staff who wish to remain ‘on the tools’.

Making training and development opportunities and career pathways available will help the team grow up in your business rather than searching elsewhere.

Listening to your team will help you understand the direction each individual wants to take: how to add to or change their role, take on more or different responsibility, lead new projects or try new innovative ways of working.

So much of good managing is about good communication. Managers have to find the right balance between asking and telling – we have one mouth and two ears for a reason!

Management toolkit

Staff need regular feedback from their manager to understand what is going well and what isn’t. They need to share in celebrations, and feel part of what the business is and where it’s heading.

It can be more challenging doing this with a remote team, but regular touchpoints between managers and their teams must be scheduled. Regular feedback will also give you more warning when people are feeling dissatisfied or disengaged.

Managers need to help staff understand the business’s goals and how their department or team fits into achieving this.

Having a solid set of corporate values, a clear mission, and specific KPIs (for the company, departments, teams and individuals) will help them understand how their individual energy and effort contributes to the business’s goals.

As employers, we have a legal duty to care for the health and wellbeing of our employees.

Understanding what is causing employees to struggle or to help them manage the work and home life balance can also help when trying to retain staff. Little things that show the importance of work-life balance go a long way to help staff feel that they’re not just a number.

As a sector, we often struggle to find and to keep good staff. If you find you have regular staff churn, then consider how you and your managers are performing!

Steps to Pest Management Leadership – online classroom course


BPCA recognises the development needs of new managers. In September 2021, we will pilot a new two-day programme aimed at managers to help give them the tools, techniques and behaviours necessary to be a high performing manager leading a high performing team.

Day one

  • Personal effectiveness – time is precious, use it wisely
  • How to effectively and efficiently manage time, priorities, tasks, team and individuals based on business focus and needs
  • Communication – verbal and non-verbal: speaking with purpose; inspiring others by listening with intent; hearing potential in others; translating this into action within the team.

Day Two

  • Self and relationships management
  • Assess your leadership style and understand the value of adapting your style to motivate and inspire the team creating a shared vision, purpose and direction
  • Understanding how to assess and manage your team members’ current competencies, ensuring you are providing stretching development opportunities – this includes one-to-ones, feedback conversations, performance coaching and mentoring for over and underperformance.

The workshops are designed to stimulate ideas and provide practical skills development to integrate into working practices, giving inspiration to new managers to encourage their team and individuals to achieve their full potential.

More info or to book

01332 225 113

Source: PPC103

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