Many of us who are owners or managers teach our teams to stand out from the competition by always doing a little more for our clients—taking their trash cans in, picking up their newspaper, saying hello, please, and thank you. But how many of us regularly and reliably apply this same approach internally? How many of us look for and remember to practice small acts of appreciation for our team members?
As we all know, most everyone in our industry is struggling with finding and keeping good workers. Yet when our executive coaches Jim Cali and Jason New, who facilitate several of our ACE Peer Groups, ask owners how much time a week their spending on solving their labor problems, they almost always hear the same answer: “Well, a couple hours, but that’s because I have so many other things to do!”
Now, as an owner of a landscaping company myself, I can completely relate to that, but I also know that if you don’t make confronting your greatest challenge a priority, you’ll never get past it and your business won’t thrive.
We can’t grow our companies without hiring and nurturing young people, and without being open to their ideas and insights. I was reminded of this again this week when I headed out to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City to spend some time sharing what I know about our industry with the students in their top-notch horticulture program. As much as I hope I helped them, they helped me to see the challenges we’re facing at Grunder Landscaping in new ways:
Most of us have found ourselves in this situation at one time or another: You have a full slate of jobs lined up and not enough people on your crews to do them. In a state of panic, you look past the serious doubts you have that an applicant is a good fit for your company and hire them anyway.
It rarely ends well when you do this. Unable to mesh with your culture and team, the new hire soon quits—or is fired—and you find yourself back right where you started with an opening to fill. And if that person damaged relationships with other team members or clients, then the situation’s even worse than before.
Lawn & Landscape
By Marty Grunder
Happy spring! I hope this month finds you getting outside a lot, for work and play. We had a long, cold winter in Ohio, and nothing feels better now than some time in the sun.
Nearly everyone in our industry is crazy-busy right now, and most of us have recently brought new hires on board to gear up for the season’s demands. It can be such a challenge to find and recruit good team members in our industry that by the time we do, it’s very tempting to want to check the box and move on.
But if you don’t take the time and energy to properly train and onboard new hires, then your team, your culture, and ultimately your bottom line will suffer.
With spring nearly sprung and our industry’s busy season about to get underway, I know many of you are struggling with finding good workers. I would love to be able to tell you—and me!—that there’s a simple silver bullet to solve this problem. But the truth is it takes hard work to find hard workers.
But there are steps you can take to improve your results. At GROW! 2018 in Tampa last month, we heard from a range of industry leaders about which tactics are working for them.
Now that the holidays are behind us and we’ve turned the calendar page on another year, it’s a great time to take a step back and really think about what you want to accomplish in 2018. One area that we’re all struggling with in the green industry is labor. Where do you find good people? How do you get them to choose to work for you over another competitor? How do you keep them once you have them?
Every fall I invite landscaping professionals from around the country to spend a day at Grunder Landscaping Co., where they go behind the scenes of our operations and learn directly from my staff how we strive to set ourselves apart from the competition.
Of all the learning events I lead throughout the year, this one is my personal favorite.