Blog by: Brandon Moxam, Vice President of U.S. Lawns.
Your Team Encompasses Every Relationship You Need To Operate Successfully
To state it simply, this is a business of people. If there’s one factor that can be most limiting to any business owner, it’s the ability to build and manage a team. It’s important to recognize that your team is not just made up of employees, but also encompasses customers, partners and all the relationships you need to have in place to really have a successful business.
Recruit And Retain
At U.S. Lawns, one of our core beliefs as we look at business, is that it all centers on the ability to recruit and retain both customers and employees.
When we talk about customers, one of the best ways expand your business is through referrals. This happens through customer intimacy, which means delivering an amazing customer experience that goes beyond providing a very professional service (which is still a critical aspect). You’re going to personalize that service by really understanding that customer–understanding their goals; identifying their needs; being easy to work with; and looking out for the customer. We call this radical personalization. It’s all about climbing one step up the value chain and being a partner instead of just a vendor.
Apply The Same Principles To Both Customer And Employee Recruitment
The same principles apply to employee recruiting. We believe that if you take care of your employees and provide them with a positive and rewarding environment to work within, one of your best sources for new recruits will come through your existing employee base.
In fact, a lot of U.S. Lawns franchisees fulfill most of their employee recruiting needs through the relationships they have with their existing employees, and the relationships those employees have with family and friends.
That doesn’t happen if you’re beating up your employees; if you don’t have a positive work environment; if you’re not providing the resources and the tools they need to be successful within their position.
Provide An Amazing Employee Experience
Just as we talked a little about the customer experience, our “best place to work” initiative is all about the employee experience. You should already know the value of having a culture of mutual respect, but the employee experience goes deep.
What kind of impression does your facility make? Is it clean; orderly; professional; a welcoming environment? Or is it a disorganized pig pen bordering on chaos?
What’s your orientation and onboarding process like? Do you take time to tour the facility; review a job description; sit down and explain what it takes to be successful within the position; help them envision a real career path with your company? Or do you immediately send them into the field without sharing even the simple expectations such as when to show up; when to take breaks; whether to bring a lunch or plan to eat out?
Do you give them the right equipment to be successful on the job site? Is it good equipment that’s been well-maintained and is replaced as its usefulness is running low? Or is it old, beat up and falling apart?
What about uniforms? Do you make the small investment in keeping a small inventory of uniforms to ensure they’ll immediately fit in and feel accepted? Or do you make them feel like an outcast on day one by having them wear something completely different than every other employee in the company?
All of this has a strong influence on the employee experience, so if your answers are on the “or” side of these questions, it’s time to make some big changes.
Give Your Employees A Common Cause They Can All Buy Into
At U.S. Lawns, we also believe strongly in painting a vision and sharing a goal that gives employees something they can buy into, collectively, with other employees–that together we’re working towards a common cause.
Celebrate Success And Reward Performance
Celebrating success through monthly barbeques, public recognition, awards, monthly incentive programs based upon performance, work quality, safety and attendance also contributes; as does training, whether it be on the job, through their crew leader, or through our Five Star Training Program Online.
When you reward your employees for their good performance it goes a long way towards having a productive workforce that cares about the company. Then they’ll go out and share the good news with other people who’ll want to be part of the organization. By taking care of what you already have, you shouldn’t have problems recruiting new employees.
It’s not just their network of family and friends, either. In this tightknit industry, other landscape companies will start noticing. In every market, there’s dozens if not hundreds of grounds care companies that all employ other people. If you truly are the employer of choice in that local market, employees from other landscaping companies are going to want to work for you.
Combine Recruitment Tactics
Even though tapping your employee network is the most powerful way to recruit, you can also include grassroots recruiting efforts along with use of existing media outlets.
On the grassroots side of things, network with local professionals in the community, as well as landscape supply stores and equipment dealerships; put up employment fliers in community centers, grocery stores and any other place your typical employee might visit on a frequent basis;
You can also place targeted ads online using social media, Craig’s List and the job boards.
Just make sure you’re communicating the values of your company and the benefits to that employee so you’re getting applicants who will relate to what you’re looking for.
Ultimately, It Goes Back To Being The Best Place To Work
The long and short of it is that whatever mix of recruitment efforts you use, if you focus on the employees you do have and create that best place to work environment, you shouldn’t have any problems putting on good employees.