The most difficult part of operating a landscape business is finding and retaining employees. It is only going to become increasingly difficult. Luckily there are tools and equipment that make it easier to operate with less employees, but they will not take the need out entirely to have employees that do custom work.
It is difficult to find someone who is willing to get their hands dirty and work in the elements. It is even more difficult if you do not provide year round work.
Finding landscaping employees requires you to get creative to be in front of those candidates in the right place at the right time. Some markets may be more difficult than others, but there are definitely people out there that are willing to work in the conditions that are typical of a landscape company. You just have to look in the right places.
Where to Find Landscape Employees
You can find candidates that are actively seeking out a career in landscaping or you can try to find people looking for a job. Either works, but the former seems to be better than the latter yet much more difficult to come by. There are also different avenues to pursue either of these two types of employees.
To find employees that are potentially seeking out a career in landscaping, you may opt to take either or all of these four actions:
Local Landscape Organization Job Boards
We have launched a job board for landscapers specifically in North America. This will allow you to create a company profile and to post any job openings for FREE. Our website gets tens of thousands of visitors every month and if they are landing on our website interested in learning more about the industry and possibly getting involved, you can have some real estate ready to capture those candidates.
Potential candidates can also post their resumes to the job board allowing businesses to access their resumes and contact them. If you are looking for some job descriptions to get you started with your job postings, you can sign up to our newsletter and receive a 100+ point job description list for FREE.
Additional job boards that are industry specific and in your area are also good job boards to leverage. If you are part of any landscape-industry specific organizations, they usually have job boards like this to help attract employees to your company.
You can also do the same with colleges. Find local colleges that have some sort of horticultural landscape program. Make connections with the staff there, find ways to create some sort of internship / apprenticeship program, and see if you can find valuable candidates through this.
This is something that you should be working on in your business. By defining what your business is and what it stands for, you can attract employees looking to work for a company like yours. If they are searching for a career in the landscape industry and notice that your brand stands above the rest, then it can be a great way to continue to attract top talent.
This branding occurs everywhere. Through your equipment, your employees, on the job site, in the office, online through any social media accounts, your local community by sponsoring certain events, and so on.
With this, you should always have a careers page on your website that you can direct those that seek out employment from you so they know what positions are available at any given point in time and apply.
To find candidates that may just be looking for a job, you can try to use either or all of these three tactics:
Employees / Network
Social Media and Other Ads
Other Job Boards
Ask your employees to find your next employee. You can even incentivize them that if they find your next employee and they stay on for a given period of time, you will give them a bonus. This is especially an important tactic if you have good employees. Typically similar character traits are surrounded by one another so if you have an employee that brings on one of their friends it is a good likelihood that they are similar in character.
You should also do the same in your network. Leverage your network, shake hands and extend your network, and make sure that you are involved in your community to ensure that you can find the right employees or even more work for your business. You cannot go wrong with extending your network.
Much like you would advertise using social media for projects, you can also do the same for targeting potential employees. You can target the particular demographics of the people you think you are looking for and in the area you are located. The more difficult part is making your company an appealing choice for them through your social media ad using writing and the right graphics. Make your company stand out above the competition by conveying what makes you different from the rest and continue to test what works best in your ads to get the actions you require.
Post on job boards and classifieds where possible to advertise your job openings. If you sign up to our newsletter, you can receive a 100+ point job description list to help you with these postings including positions such as laborers, foremen, project managers, and equipment operators. Add in some information about your company, the values, and the extra information on the job and you are set.
Once you have employees, you then need to work on retaining employees. One of the most expensive aspects of having employees is the time it takes to train them and the inefficiency that training brings. If you can work to retain your employees you can not only minimize the cost of hiring, but also the cost of training and the inefficiency of training. Instead, you can work to increase the efficiency and skills of the employees that your retain.
How to Retain Construction Workers
Employee retention is important to a growing business as the more employee churn that your business goes through, the more costly it will be for several different reasons. Training is the most costly aspect of this employee churn as it will make you less efficient as new employees require training in the office and on the job site. It may even cost you in the quality of work as well as deadlines need to be hit or as employees are trained differently in your business as they were in their previous. Different companies have different standards of work that they output.
Finding employees is hard enough, but once you have the right employees on your team you then need to retain them. Additionally, in a tough labor market you also need to make the decision to come work for you a suitable option for your candidate. The same principles that apply to retaining employees also works for making your company stand out above others so that you can attract the best employees to come work for you.
Here is a list of things that you can do in your business to ensure that you are standing above the rest to attract employees and to also retain those employees.
Tools and Equipment
Environment and Culture
By providing employees with a clear path towards what a career can look like for them in your business, you are allowing them to take control of their future. This can include milestones and what promotions would include, as well as how they can get there. It can also appeal to their strengths by letting them know possibilities inside and outside of the field should they ever wish to also change the type of work that they do. Being clear in the recruitment and hiring process on the possibilities that you can provide employees will help you not only recruit, but also retain employees.
Providing ongoing training to employees is another great way to retain them, but to also level them up to provide more value within your business. This comes at a cost, but that cost is an investment towards improving the skills that employees can use within your business to continually improve it. Top performers want to know that they can continually improve themselves through ongoing training in their field of work. But employees love to know that if they wish to make a drastic move in their career such as moving from in the field work to in an office, they have that ability with training provided without even needing to change companies.
Bonuses can be paid or other incentives based on what appeals to your employees when targets are hit. These targets can be job-based targets in terms of hours worked to complete a project versus the amount of time that was estimated. They can also be individual-based targets when an employee completes a training course. The possibility for incentives creates a drive in your employees to want to do better and to also create a competitive spirit throughout the company to want to do better. A properly structured incentive program can help promote efficiency while also retaining employees that enjoy the incentive programs.
Speaking of efficiency, investing in the proper tools and equipment will not only improve performance but also help to retain your employees. They are less likely to look elsewhere for similar work if they see that you are investing in the best tools and equipment to make their jobs as easy as possible. Especially if elsewhere is not offering the same tools and equipment at their disposal. Not only will you make more money with the right tools and equipment, but you will show your employees that you want to make their lives easier.
Not every company provides year-round work in our industry. This can lead to employees coming and going through the winter months when there is no work and they need to seek work out before returning in the spring. This is bad for turnover. It is also not the best or employees to have to worry about finding work for the winter months as they get closer during the year. By finding a solution to this, you can ensure that you do not lose employees over the winter months to another company in a different industry or a company that is able to offer them full year-round employment.
Creating a positive work environment and a culture that pushes employees to be better can do wonders for retaining employees. By implementing the previous points in your own way, as well as ensuring that all of your employees are on the same page and portraying the core beliefs of your company, you can ensure that your company work environment and culture are one that will have people wanting to not only seek you out for employment, but also want to remain employed for their career.