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How to Keep Seasonal Workers Long Term

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Business Advice

What’s the key to long term success? Having a staff you can count on. Unfortunately in the green industry, that’s not so easy to come by.

For the most part, the landscaping business is solely based on seasonal work. This fact alone makes it extremely challenging to find workers who are willing to stick with you for the long haul. Many of us end up hiring high school or college students looking for summer jobs and, while that’s fine, know that the level of commitment or expertise required to successfully grow your company is simply not there.

It’s the same in most cases that involve family members and friends.  Hiring a family member or a friend here and there to pick up some of the extra work may seem like a strategic move, but in many cases, it just adds fire to the flame in terms of producing a higher turnover rate.  To develop your business, you need a good team behind you that is not only loyal, but able to add to the quality workmanship you’re after.

So where do you start?

First off, to attract and retain employees you need to develop and maintain a professional work environment. Start by promoting a work atmosphere that is based on continuous learning, friendly cooperation and effective collaboration. To do this, identify the critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making practices you want your business work ethic to revolve around. These practices should be communicated to employees and used to both improve their work performance and increase their job satisfaction.  

Here’s an idea: Get together with your workers and create a list (based on their input) of the greatest challenges on each of their particular jobs. Next, devise a five step plan for addressing these concerns. Think of ways to better time management and to reduce the amount of problems. Employees will not only appreciate your professional dedication to addressing their concerns, but they’ll enjoy having the creative liberty to bring their own unique perspective to the table.

Encourage your employees to come to you with thoughts and suggestions. Even if your answer is “no” to their suggestion, provide an explanation as to why that is and let them know you genuinely appreciate the input. The people who are actually doing the work bring a fresh and invaluable perspective – one that you might not have yourself, simply because you’re not the one doing the actual task. Their common-sense suggestions could have a meaningful impact on your bottom line.

Continuous employee training is another way to motivate and improve employee performance. And we all know better performance and productivity is a surefire way to boost morale.  Investing in your employees will help build employee loyalty, but it will also improve your company’s skill level, productivity, and safety. 

Hold regular staff meetings to ensure employees get a chance to communicate their concerns and ideas. Also, use this time to review and revise business goals with your employees. Make sure everyone is always looking at the bigger picture.

Lastly, keep in mind that family time is of utmost importance to most people. An employee is more likely to stay with your company if you have offered some flexibility in terms of work hours and work schedules. Be considerate and understanding – if a worker occasionally has to leave to pick up his kids from school or if he needs to leave to tend to his sick wife, let him leave and find a way for him to make up for lost work at a later time.

Allowing for flexibility with family shows your workers that you care about their wellbeing and value their role within your company.

Landscape Management Network offers members all-inclusive training packages for their employees – focusing on health + safety, production systems, and Lean Landscaping training for problem identification and resolution. For more information on LMN, see the website at www.landscapemanagementnetwork.com.

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