TLC - The Landscape Company also provides an extensive training program, pays for more formal training, and stays involved in its state association (ALCA). As a result, Spector says they expect crew leaders to gain certifications and continue their education in order to stay competitive within their own peer groups.
Systems to improve communication have become just as important as training. "We've developed a top-notch work order and work report system to facilitate communications between the crew leader, the office and clients," Spector says. In addition, crew leaders are involved in weekly meetings at the office, site meetings, and a variety of social functions. "The social functions facilitate opportunities for a wide range of discussion topics by putting our crew leaders at ease with upper management," Spector says. "This works for all divisions of our company."
Brickman has put a detailed site inspection report system in place. "Each job has a folder," Hupman explains. "If an operations manager, account manager or anyone else does a site visit, 'next-visit expectations' are inserted into the folder for the crew leader to use. If the client wants to meet the crew leader on site, this is also communicated on the site report as well as the schedule board. We use this process with both maintenance and installation projects."
All of this training and process implementation is done for one primary reason: improve customer satisfaction. Accountability helps ensure that everything comes together as intended.
"Our crew leaders are now held accountable for client satisfaction and retention," Furner says. "We are offering an incentive program this year for supervisors (production coordinators) and crew leaders to be efficient, maintain quality and receive fewer complaints. Incentives don't always have to be monetary, either. You could hand out awards, for instance. Employees just need something to strive for."