The Importance of Great Employees
There are few things harder in business, no matter which industry you are in, than finding and keeping great employees. All people want to talk about in the lawn and landscape industry is not being able to find anybody good. “Can’t find good help anymore.” You hear that 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?
This is a two-part problem: one of the mental belief and one of the reality. Maybe there is a problem with employees even more today than ever, but you still have to be able to get the employees you need and this article will help you do just that!
The Role of Employees in Lawn and Landscape Business Success
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 to get great employees, 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.
Self-Reflection: Are You the Problem?
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 tens of thousands of high schoolers who run around charging $25 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 families and treat their business the same way those high schoolers do and wonder why they can’t find “good help.”
To get honest feedback on your business, ask employees to evaluate what they do and don’t like and that could be done privately and anonymously. You could also simply ask your friends what their honest opinion of your business is. What do they think about it? If you want to find and keep professional employees, you have to be a professional business.
Finding Potential Employees
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 them 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. That doesn’t mean you don’t train someone, but if you are looking for someone with good experience and the person who you are interviewing doesn’t end up having that, you probably move on from that person quickly. 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.
Creating a Professional Culture
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 lawn and landscape 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; provide 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. Remember, money is an important factor to attracting and keeping a quality person around, but without more, they won’t be around long because most people won’t stay in a miserable environment regardless of the pay.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Great Employees in the Lawn and Landscape Industry
Culture, culture, culture. That’s the “secret” if there is one. You have to create this culture and maintain it overtime in order to attract and keep great employees for your lawn and landscape business. It’s not one BIG thing you will do, it’s a million small things. Just think about yourself: what would you want as an employee and what kind of environment would you like to work in? When you consider this as well as simply ask your employees what they want and like, you’ll find many of the answers to culture that will help solve your employee problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the importance of great employees in the lawn and landscape industry?
Great employees are crucial to the success of any business, including those in the lawn and landscape industry. They are the ones who carry out the daily tasks and interact with customers. The process of finding and retaining these employees is not complicated, but it requires consistent effort and time.
How do I find more employees?
Employees are everywhere, it’s just about letting them know you have an opportunity for them. Social media, job posting sites, friends and family referrals, and employee referrals are a few places you can find employees. You can find good and great employees when you begin presenting your company as professional and offer a great culture, fair pay, and good benefits.
What are some effective ways to find potential employees for my lawn and landscape business?
You can find potential employees through various channels such as social media, job listing websites, friends, family, and existing employees. It’s important to ask qualifying questions during the hiring process to ensure they are a good fit for your business. Remember, hire slow and fire fast to ensure you keep the right people. The wrong people will lead to a breakdown of culture and a bad road for your business.
How can I create a professional culture in my lawn and landscape business to attract good employees?
Creating a professional culture involves providing a great working environment, offering quality equipment, maintaining cleanliness, respecting employees’ time, and offering benefits and opportunities for advancement. It’s also important to make employees feel valued and important. This culture will attract professional employees and keep them for the long term.
What role does culture play in attracting and retaining employees in the lawn and landscape industry?
Culture is the “secret” to attracting and retaining great employees. A positive and professional culture makes employees want to work for you and stay with your company for decades, not just seasons. It’s not about one big thing, but a million small things that create a desirable work environment.