The landscaping industry is notorious for a high turnover rate in employees. This makes an owner’s job that much more difficult. You work hard to get business and get referrals and the last thing you need to be concerned over is “Do we have enough workers to do these projects?”.
Many companies will discuss and lecture on finding the right employees; which yes is very important. However, for an owner who has lost several good and experienced workers it is also important to know how to maintain these employees. An owner loses money every time he has to find, interview, and hire a new employee and have his crew’s leaders spend time training them when they may only last a week or two.
Maintaining our employees became a huge focus for our landscape maintenance business in middle Georgia when we attended a conference on “culture” in the workplace. Culture is the “ character and personality of your organization”.
You may think that is a bit absurd…but think about it. The more you enjoy what you do, the people you are around, and the environment you are working in each day then you will return. So I encourage you to become familiar with the culture of your workforce because a good culture creates satisfied employees and increases productivity. Satisfied employees don’t quit.
I will share 8 things below that we started to do and still do that helped us to create a good culture within our company. If you aren’t ready for 8 just start with 3 or 4.
5 Ways to Create a Great Company Culture within your landscape maintenance business that will help you to retain your workforce:
1. Weekly Huddle
Employees get frustrated when they don’t see the big picture and aren’t included in it. Monday morning for 15 minutes, our owner and all crews meet together to discuss last week and the week ahead. They are encouraged to ask questions, share info about equipment needs, and are given something small we typically give out doughnuts to boost the moral for the day and go into the week strong.
Yes this is an upfront cost for owners, but we send our crews out with water bottles or Gatorade. This cost is so beneficial, because the crews don’t stop at the convenient store for drinks and they go straight to the properties to begin working and in turn billing for you.
Once a month during our huddles we have a raffle. There are small gift cards, hats, shirts, other items they could use while working. The raffle brings smiles, laughter, and a fun competition between the crews and employees.
During our huddles or other meetings we make sure that any compliments our clients have sent in to our office are communicated to the employees in front of everyone else. It is important to not only communicate that you think they are doing well, but definitely communicate that the customers are noticing they are doing a great job. An added plus is to recognize them in front of the whole team!
5. Billing Goals
Quarterly with the help of our business software that we use to track our biling, Mejor, we take a look at each crew’s billing percentages. We give them a goal, and if they hit that goal for example 85% then they will receive a quarterly bonus. If your team is billing 85% of their time then you as the owner are making more money. It is a win win to reward your team for making the business more money.
These 5 things truly are so beneficial to the culture of your company, and in turn help you to retain your employees. You spend good time and money to hire and train employees. Now just invest in your companies’ culture and you will be shocked to see your turnover slow down or even come to a halt.