The culture must extend from senior management all the way down to the rank and file. Most employees who under-perform in and/or end up quitting their jobs do so because they have a conflict with their direct supervisor.
At the center of a healthy corporate culture is trust—employees trusting their supervisors and vice versa, one department or division trusting the other, and trust in the management team to continue leading the company down the right path.
Trust sounds like something simple, but it has eluded many a Green Industry company over the past couple of decades. Some companies have made great strides by following a few simple rules.
1. Genuine concern for employees. The Green Industry, generally speaking, is an under-appreciated industry. Good employees—whether technicians repairing equipment or people to work on landscape crews—are hard to come by. If employees get the sense that they are not very appreciated, it will be reflected in their work and commitment to the company.
Leading Green Industry companies recognize the great work their employees do—and offer opportunities to advance and earn more money whenever possible. Many companies also assist their employees in acquiring new training and opportunities to earn certifications. It’s simple: A valued employee is a more valuable employee.
2. Find the right employees. The best Green Industry companies recognize how hard it is to find good employees. However, that does not mean they don’t take the hiring process seriously; they don’t just hire the first person who walks in the door.
Good companies have clear job descriptions, in addition to a list of attributes they’re seeking in certain types employees. Some companies, often through the help of a consultant, even develop their own custom questionnaires or applications to help ensure that they’re learning enough of the right information about a job candidate.
Good companies never stop looking for good employees, even during times when they aren’t necessarily hiring. If a candidate contacts them, they have a system for filing that person’s information so they can follow up at a later date.
3. Headhunt superstars. Many Green Industry companies have found that some of their best-performing employees came from outside of the Green Industry. Sales reps, managers and administrative personnel can often excel in a landscaping company or equipment dealership even if they’ve never worked in this business. The skills needed to sell and manage—coupled with a strong work ethic—make if possible for these employees to thrive under your guidance.
Networking is an essential tool for a Green Industry business owner. Network with not only other Green Industry companies, but also other companies in your community. You never know when you’ll learn of a highly talented person who might like to come work for you.
Additionally, you never know when an employee of one of your competitors might want to consider working for you. Always be broadcasting the fact that your intentions are to build the best company in the market—which means you are continually looking for top talent to join your company. Put a statement to that effect on your website. Tell your customers. Tell your vendors. The more people you tell, the more likely that top talent will gravitate toward your company.