There are few things harder in business, no matter which industry you are in, than finding and keeping great employees. It is all people want to talk about it seems like. “Can’t find good help anymore.” You hear it and maybe even have said it a thousand times. Perhaps this sentiment is true…but perhaps it isn’t. There are great companies out there to this day that have great employees, so to say they can’t be found may be untrue. If they are indeed out there, where are they and how can you find them?
Employees are truly one of the most important factors to a business’ success, so if you want long-term success, you will need to find some and get them to stick around. To do this is actually not as complicated as everyone seems to think it is, in fact it is actually simple. This simplicity is not in the short amount of time it takes, rather it is in the steps you take on a daily and weekly basis that lead to great employees. Keep that in mind when you think because you have followed these steps for a month or six months, that great employees will be begging to work for you. These processes will work eventually but the results come after sustained efforts throughout the life of your business.
Let’s just get it out of the way now; have you ever considered YOU are the problem? Do you and your business operate professionally? Is your CULTURE one of professionalism? Just because you are in the lawn and landscape industry doesn’t mean you have to operate like this is a hobby. GET IT TOGETHER, YOU RUN A BUSINESS THAT IS AS MUCH OF A BUSINESS AS GOOGLE, APPLE, AND FORD SO TREAT IT AS SUCH. Do you think Ford pays their employees in under the table cash? Do they let their employees come to work wearing dirty or cut up clothes? Do they guess at what to charge based on competition? All these things and more are an obvious NO, but as an industry we let all this slide. This is why our industry is infiltrated by 50,000 high schoolers who run around charging $10 a lawn dragging the perceived professionalism and price of our industry WAY DOWN. The real problem is that there are people who rely on their company to support themselves and their family and treat their business the same way those high schoolers do and wonder why they can’t find “good help.”
There are so many places we look for employees such as social media, job listing websites, friends, family, and people existing employees know. None of these places are better than the other, they all bring potential people your way so utilize all of your resources. Once you find someone, don’t just offer the job. Ask questions that qualify them. Do they have previous experience? What kind of equipment have they worked with? If you worked for a lawn and landscape company before, what made you want to change? These questions help you decide if the person is right for you. Asking these questions are helpful but at the end of the day someone may fool you and they may not be a great fit after you hire them. A saying I have about employees is hire slow, fire fast. This is not foolproof either but it has helped tremendously when it comes to keeping the right people with us and letting the bad fits go.
If you really want to find and keep great employees around it is up to you to create the professional culture that attracts a professional employee. There are endless ways of doing this and it is an ongoing effort that must be genuine or people will see right through your act. A few things that I have implemented in my own business are as follows: have a great working environment; offer great equipment for them to use; have a clean truck, shop, uniforms and everything else; offer uniforms and make them a rule; make them feel important; offer an employee handbook or standard operating procedures; offer on-going training; ask their opinion; give them the authority, not just the responsibility; respect them and their time; offer benefits; give them opportunities to advance; give them some free time; SAY THANK YOU! These are a few things to consider doing that will create the culture that makes great people want to work for you and keeps them sticking around for DECADES not just seasons
Culture, culture, culture. That’s the “secret” if there is one. For more detail and an in-depth explanation of each of the factors listed above, check out the full video on our Profits Unlimited YouTube channel.