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5 Key Takeaways from LMN’s 2023 Hiring Trends Survey

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Industry News

The labor shortages and hiring and retention challenges continue to keep landscape business owners up at night. It’s understandable as success depends on having the crew members you need to complete jobs on time and take on new work.

We get it and we want to help so we surveyed 500 landscapers and asked what’s working for them. More specifically, we asked them about their company’s hiring processes, the challenges they face and how they’re handling them.

You can read the complete survey here. It’s full of hiring and retention statistics, insights and most importantly, advice, tips and best practices to help you find and keep the talent you need to run your business.

In the meantime, let us share five take-aways from our survey and quick tips to help you address them.

Hiring and Retaining Talent Remains a Top Priority in Landscaping

Hiring hasn’t gotten any easier over the past year. 93% of landscapers surveyed struggle to hire enough crew members to complete jobs, especially during busy seasons.

It continues to be a time-consuming and expensive challenge with nearly half of companies spending between $101 – $250 to recruit each new employee. Thirty percent spend as much as twice that.

What to do about it?

  • Streamline time and budget intensive hiring processes (read below for some helpful how-to’s).
  • Get smart about who you are targeting and how to reach them.
  • Don’t wait until you need people before starting to recruit. Make hiring a year-round endeavor.

Too Few Candidates and Low Experience are to Blame for Hiring Difficulties

The industry is dealing with a persistent labor shortage which means companies are heavily competing for available talent. Half of those surveyed can’t get enough people to show up to interview and an even higher percentage (57%) get applicants with insufficient experience.

To stand out from the competition and raise the hiring bar, try these tips:

  • Create better job ads by elevating titles. For instance, instead of advertising for a laborer, offer an apprenticeship.
  • Offer more than a job. Leverage job ads as a way to sell your company, its goals and mission and the career opportunities you offer.
  • Incentivize candidates to come to an interview. Also incentivize employees who share referrals for potential candidates.

Higher Pay Increases the Quality and Number of Job Applicants

While operating within an inflationary, highly competitive environment, landscaping company owners are keeping a close eye on spending in order to protect the bottom line. It’s understandable, but those that spend money on higher wages are seeing an increase in the quality and number of job applications.

How to afford to pay a higher hourly rate:

  • Factor higher wages into your pricing structure.
  • Reduce hiring costs by pre-screening candidates. Of those we surveyed, 94% pre-screen labor or field crew applicants using a questionnaire.
  • Think of the jobs you can take on and the costs you can avoid by having higher qualified workers.

Landscapers are Going Broad and Getting Strategic to Reach Candidates and Fill Jobs

Despite digital marketing trends, a mix of traditional and digital marketing methods rank among the most successful hiring tools for landscapers. 51% are most successful advertising through job boards. Nearly a quarter (22%) rank offline advertising, including flyers, billboards, and newspaper ads, most effective.

Tips for advertising job openings: 

  • Target qualified candidates outside of the landscaping industry, including construction workers.
  • Ask current employees which media channels they regularly use. I.e., are they more apt to read a local newspaper or scroll social media?
  • Offer a wage range that illustrates the potential for growth rather than limiting candidates to an hourly rate.

Landscape Companies Rely on Safety and Skills Training to Keep Employees Sharp and Prepared

Nearly all (99%) of companies we surveyed have a training program in place for their employees. Eighty-one percent deliver training on the job which can be time-consuming and cut into resources.

How to properly train new and existing employees without wasting time and money:

  • Cut the time senior crew members spend onboarding and training new hires by leveraging on-demand training software.
  • Look to local associations for free training content.
  • Make training a regular part of your company, ensuring consistency and helping to avoid poor habits and unsafe practices that can cost your employees and your business time and money.

Ready to Dive Deeper into Hiring and Retention Best Practices?

Amping up your hiring efforts is time well spent. By taking advantage of tips and insights gathered from others in your industry, you can finetune and maximize your hiring strategies so you have the talent you need to efficiently and effectively run your business.

You can find the complete LMN 2023 Hiring Trends Survey here and also find helpful advice on hiring and retaining talent on our blog. Let us know how else we can help! 

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