Lillian Radke is President of Unicpro, an industrial cleaning business. Lillian sees God as the CEO of the company and leads with a servant leadership style. The way she treats her associates has led to a 13% turnover rate in an industry where the turnover standard is over 85%! Lillian leads by example.

Christ Wants to Use Your Company

At Unicpro, we are a commercial cleaning company. We clean office buildings, government facilities, schools, and medical facilities. Right now, we have about 244 employees and we keep growing. So maybe by the end of the year we might be close to 300.

We firmly believe that God gave us this company, and I'm just a steward. He gave me the clients, he gave me the employees, and the resources to run it. So my husband started the company, and later on, I joined and he hired me. He is a pastor’s kid and my father-in-law always wanted us to do ministry inside the church, maybe even be his successor, but we never felt that that was our call. We keep seeing the numbers of employee grow and we kept thinking maybe this should be our ministry field, not just inside the church. Maybe we should bring the church to work. And how do we do that? Is this legal? For many, many years, all the employees knew that we were a company with Christian owners, right? But how do we pass it along and give opportunities to employees to get to know Christ?

You are in the People Business

Yeah, I always like to say that we are not in the cleaning business, but we're in the people business. If we treat our people well, they're going to serve our clients well. So one of our mottos inside of our leadership team is the department upside down. I don't know if you ever heard about it. So literally, my job as a CEO is to serve the management. The manager is to serve the supervisors. The supervisor will serve the cleaning crew, which ultimately going to serve our clients. It's not them trying to please me, but trying to please the people below them as servant-minded leadership. So after we implement that leadership style, I feel that the whole culture of our company changed, and that became our mission to really care. And not to say that we care, but to demonstrate that we care for the people that work for us.

And then the way that we started implementing was with our core values. One of our core values is faith. We'll bring you opportunities to get to know God. One example is that we do provide a devotional with every paycheck. We figure if one envelope that everybody opens their paycheck. So we had many stories where somebody will call the office and say, how do you know what I'm going through? Because this devotional matches exactly what I'm going through. And my HR manager being a believer, she does pray about it before, sends our devotional and we send on their own languages. Because many of our employees, English is not their first language. So we have eight different types of languages in devotional, and we stand on their own language and say, here, we care so much about you. We want to make sure you understand. And some of them maybe just open the envelope throw away, but some of them do read it.

Caring for Your People is Good for Business

As soon as we started implementing those ministries and also telling employees we care for them, we saw not only our sales growing but also our employee turnover rate going down. And the only thing I can think of is because of our culture and the way we're treating them, and we tell them, we're doing this for you. Because that's how Jesus taught us how to treat people. And again, it came all from the Bible, right? Jesus simply telling us how to treat people. And if you're a leader or if you're the first, you're the last, how people should feel. So we're just copying what Jesus told us to do. I believe that as a CEO, I have to make decisions every day, small to large, that are super important. That can impact 250 families. My husband and I decided that, I think it's been the last three or four years where we're like, we're not making any more decisions that’s small or large without consulting the true owner of our company.

It is our mission. We're working 40, 45 hours with somebody next to you and they got to experience Christ through our lives. And then I can picture getting to heaven. God saying, “Look at all these people put in your hand. What did you do to them? Right? Were you light? Were you salt? You had opportunities? Did you take them? They're working for you or they're working next to you instead of working for somebody else. It must be for a reason, right?” 

I can picture every day, God with arms open. Saying, “Hey, come to me. I have a lot for you today and I want to give you, and I want to share with you, and I want to help you, and I want to guide you.” And it's up to me to come to him and listen.

Having an Impact in Christ’s Name

I remember doing a devotional one time in 2018 when our company was really taking off. We were passing a hundred employees and more big accounts started to come. And I was shocked in a good way. We want a company to grow. But I remember my devotional journal saying, God, why are we growing so much and why are we having more clients and more people coming to us? Because the more people that come, the more headache and more drama can show up. 

And then the word that I got from God was impact. I remember even circling the word impact. I want you to impact those people's lives. So for me, the fun and the mission and the reason that I wake up is not even more to grow the company bigger and bigger. It was to impact every family that's going to come through our doors. And then we brought prayer inside the work. We have our prayer board, and to the left we put prayer requests and to the right, we put prayer's answers in our HR office. And it's so amazing. Even believers are non-believers. They all posted something. So we have chaplains that come and pray. If a pastor is just going by our office, we ask them to pray over a prayer board. And I'm happy to say that both sides are full.

I think every day belongs to God. I pray before I go to important meetings. I pray when I need to make a decision. At night, when I'm a mom and I'm a wife, we bring God to our family. For me, I think God knows what's tomorrow, what's in the future, and inside of a company, I have so many God stories, why we didn't get a contract, and we had peace of it, knowing that God is in control. So having him in control and having him to be the main lead of the company, it actually makes it easier because then it's not on my shoulder. I can rely on him to help me lead the people the best way possible.

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