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It’s the same refrain for landscape business leaders each time you sit down to discuss your operations with your leadership team, meet a new person at a green industry event, or look at your schedule board for the week.

We do not have enough people to do the work.

If this is a thought you’ve had, you’re not alone. Though green industry revenues have been growing year over year, hiring in the green industry has not kept pace—and companies have had to examine their reliance on old hiring practices and H-2B visa programs to keep staffed.

And as many industries experienced during COVID, people reassessed their work lives and decided to make a change. According to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the “Great Resignation” saw 11.5 million quit their jobs in Q2 of 2021 alone.

The labor situation has made many business leaders turn inward and to their best employees to explore what they can do to retain their people and attract new workers.

How does this translate in the green industry? Here are five ways you could be making the labor problem worse for your landscape company:

Only recruiting when you need to

Top landscape companies don’t just hire when they have roles they need to fill—they never stop recruiting. Hiring an HR consultant or a recruiter can ensure hiring stays top of mind when a good candidate arises, and they can help position your company to interview top talent first.

But recruiting doesn’t end there. Potential employees see your public image as a reflection of what it would be like to work for your company. Show you’re on top of your game by keeping the career pages on your website and postings on recruiting websites updated with current, engaging job descriptions. Your website and social media accounts should also reflect well on your company culture, presenting your organization as a fun, challenging, and rewarding place to work.

Not developing career growth paths

In a 2019 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, a lack of career development was the leading cause in why people quit their jobs.

Entice candidates by showing them what they could achieve within your company—moving up from crew member to crew leader to production manager, and beyond. For client-facing and operations staff, show how entry- and mid-level roles can ladder up to leadership positions.

Once those career development plans are in place, keep your top performers on the path with monthly or quarterly performance goals and reviews.

Not establishing standard onboarding and continuing education processes

Creating and executing a clear and comprehensive onboarding program for new team members gives them the immediate satisfaction of productivity and empowerment from day one. Help build confidence and competence in your team members by fostering their development through education and certification courses, such as those offered through the National Association of Landscape Professionals or through equipment manufacturers. Standardize these professional development plans and include them as part of your ongoing reviews.

Not offering benefits that differentiate you as an employer

Consider what value you offer to your potential employees that no other landscape company does. Maybe your company offers a different work schedule, for example, with four 10-hour shifts instead of five work days a week. 

Some companies are finding that early wage access programs like Aspire's Pay onDemand give their companies an edge when it comes to employee retention. Offering your people a portion of their earned wages ahead of payday can give them more control over their earnings, and help foster a trust and loyalty to your company.

Flexibility in work hours, early wage access, or something else entirely—whatever your differentiator is, be sure you're communicating this information in your job postings and interviews. 

Using outdated equipment and disconnected technology solutions

The most successful landscape companies have solid operating procedures they follow and enforce, and they’re consistently updating and investing in quality equipment to provide top-of-the-line service to their customers.

For operations and field staff alike, an end-to-end business management software that offers the ability to do their jobs better—without having to learn a variety of other disjointed software solutions—shows you care about giving your people the tools to succeed at their jobs. And that feeling of success and accountability can help empower your people to deliver for customers.

Implementing innovative field equipment like robotic mowers shows that your company values the services it provides, is updated on industry trends, and is consistently evaluating how it can operate better and more efficiently.

We hope these tips help you examine how your company recruits, hires, and keeps its employees. For more advice on improving your recruitment and retention efforts, download our free ebook below.

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