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8 Ways to Better People

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Business Advice

Year after year, the #1 problem for green industry business owners is people. “I just can’t find good people?!” There is no doubt that people make the difference between great companies and companies that just survive. 

An opportunity awaits your company every day.  It’s the opportunity to seize the responsibility for creating your own “great people”.  Who did you expect was going to do this for you? If you want to build a great company, if you want to build a better business, if you want people who share your workload and get the job done right, then take some responsibility. Here are 8 ways you can build better people: 

1. Develop Exceptional Leaders

Start at the top.  Your top people, managers, supervisors, foreman, will influence and guide the rest of your company.  They carry your message.  Great people won’t tolerate working for average leaders.  Great people look to great leaders.  If your leaders are average, then can’t expect anything better than average (or worse!) employees.

This is a critical point to remember when hiring.  Great candidates will be looking for better money.  You can save yourself a few dollars per hour hiring a less experienced/accomplished candidate. But the great candidate will lead more effectively, will develop better apprentices, and will deliver higher productivity. To read more on this topic, click here.

2. Develop Systems That Reward Greatness

You want great people? You need great systems. You need systems that outline what needs to get done, and who is responsible. Great employees want to work in systems that will reward them for their production. Implement a pay system or bonus system that rewards your superstars like mini-owners within your business. 

3.  Define Clear Goals

What is great? What is average? Do you employees know? Define greatness in your company. Greatness might be productivity (sales revenue per labor dollar). Maybe its customer feedback. Maybe it’s no warranty work. “Hard working” and “loyal” are good traits, but they’re not measurable. Define what is great and evaluate your employees with objective data. To read more on this topic, click here.

4. Spend More Time Hiring

Do you have a sales process to help you increase your sales? A hiring process might just help you even more. You can sell all the work you want, but without great people, the road to success is unpredictable. With great people, you can successfully accomplish anything you sell. Approach hiring a great employee with same hunger you’d approach a big potential customer…

  • Slow down. Look for the best candidates. The “higher” the position, the more particular you must be.
  • Expand your search. Try Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Interview before you hire. Ask better questions. Listen.
  • Prepare for the interview. Act professional. Look professional.
  • Check references.

Yes, you will spend more of your valuable time hiring. But you’ll spend less time supervising and firing. This tradeoff will work in your favor. To read more on this topic, click here: 

5. Hold Supervisors Accountable

Whether your supervisors are in the office, or foreman in the field, they must be held accountable to results. You must clearly provide expectations (labor hours on jobs, quality evaluation scores, warranty/re-work targets). In return, your people can take responsibility for bringing in the work, on time and on budget. Push your supervisors and to prepare and report on results that are tied to the clear goals you have defined. 

6. Always Be Recruiting 

Always have an eye out for superstars.  Never stop recruiting and looking. Be constantly aware of who is under-performing and deal with their shortcomings. Do not give under-performers the chance to spoil the rewards for everyone who is performing. Don’t be afraid to move your worst performers out to bring in candidates with better potential. Your business, and the performance-driven staff within it, will thank you. 

7.  Always Be Training

Having trouble finding good people? The available labor pool is filled with castoffs from other companies. Spend your time and money better by training and developing your own superstars. Employers get the employees they deserve. No training? No results. 

8. Always Be Improving

Remove all barriers to productivity.  Everyone must understand what better is. Everyone must play a role in improving the company. Empower and reward your people for developing solutions that improve the company. Focus on small, easy solutions. Large solutions take much time, and many people working in harmony to work. Statistically, most large solutions fail. Get your people to focus on the little everyday things..  

  • The way the trailer is organized
  • The way paperwork is collected
  • How information is passed to the field staff
  • The location of the gas cans
  • How to load/unload the trucks

Improvements make the workplace easier. Work time is less stressful, less difficult. Underperformers can’t hide behind excuses. Success, and the financial rewards that come along with it, come to those who seize every opportunity to get that little bit better than the competition.

In this industry, nobody is going to develop superstars for you. Stop using the excuse “I can’t find good people.” Stop planning on “finding” great people. Focus on developing your own. Let your competition rest on the “people” excuse. Get to work and implement systems that develop the best employees in your market.

Landscape Management Network ( is an online business management tool built for contractors. LMN members share incredible tools and resources for building a profitable plans and goals, training superstar people, and implementing systems that improve productivity and profit.

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