Practical business advice and ideas you can use now
Getting the Most Out of Your Employees Finding qualified employees is no easy task. Cultivating a healthy work environment and inspiring loyalty among your staff are even harder. But with a little help from human resources expert Veronica Seever, Leaf Landscape Supply controller and TNLA Region VIII chair, you can make key changes that can result in improved employee retention rates and a more productive work environment.
Q: Why is it particularly important to foster a productive and constructive work environment in the green industry? I think the most important reason is due to our shortage in the labor pool. There’s a big gap of interest these days for people coming to our industry. Whether it’s educated management positions or unskilled laborers, it’s a high-demand industry that can come across as thankless.
TNLA Green May/June 2019
Q: What can companies do to foster a positive and functional work environment? Communication is key. It’s human nature that you work more effectively when you understand the how and the why behind your job. It doesn’t help when a company or boss has the “because I said so” mentality. Take the time to explain why your company has certain policies and procedures and how workers can excel in their roles. That way, employees have clear expectations and know why their job is important. Employees should also be celebrated for their successes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a monetary reward. I also don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to hear they’ve done a great job. Even just saying thank you can go a long way. Q: How does Leaf Landscape Supply celebrate employees’ accomplishments? Our company celebrates employees like crazy — from high fives, saying great job, and praising someone in our Monday morning meetings. We also offer profit sharing and reward those who meet monthly sales goals by buying lunch for the whole company. One of my favorite things we do costs
us nothing, and yet our workers walk away with something. I have a credit card that lets me earn reward points. We redeem our points for gift cards, and we give them out for small achievements like stepping up when someone was out sick. Our employees love to choose out of all the different gift cards. Q: What are some effective tactics businesses in the green industry can use to motivate employees? The most effective tactic to me is to set clear, attainable goals. Make an action plan on how to reach the goals and have a defined way to gauge when they’ve been reached. Don’t forget to celebrate the entire staff, not just one person, when goals are reached. In our company, if we reach a sales goal, we acknowledge that not just the sales person made it happen. Other people on the team had to load, order, and deliver the plants to make it possible for us to reach our goal. Q: What are some common reasons employees leave their jobs? Most people think that employees leave a job because of pay, but research shows that’s true only 12 percent of the time. The most common reason is because they don’t see any opportunity for growth within the company, followed by not feeling valued by their boss. The green industry has more small businesses than large corporations. That can be a challenge because those smaller operations may not offer a lot of room for career growth. So it’s even more important for those companies to foster a positive work environment. Q: How can businesses within the green industry retain valuable employees? I think the best thing we can do as an industry is to get up to speed with