Top 5 ways to keep your best landscape employees

Retention rate is an important metric for any business. While it is most often used to measure the number of customers a business retains year over year (or month over month, depending on how you keep track), retention rate as it relates to employees is often just as important. In the landscaping industry, where employers often struggle to keep good employees, knowing how to improve your employee retention rate can help you save money and grow your business. 

 

Calculating retention rates

Determining your employee retention rate is simple. Let’s look at an example to see how it works.

A landscaping business owner (we’ll call him Len Mower) is getting ready to hire a new crew for the summer season. He looks back at his employee records and notices that only seven of the original 25 employees he hired last season are around for this year. In order to calculate his retention rate, Len will divide the number of employees from last year that he’s hiring back (or that still work for him) by his total number of employees for the current season.

Retention Rate = Last Year’s Returning Employees/Total # of Employees

When Len divides 7 by 25, he gets an employee retention rate of 0.28 or 28%. This means that Len retained less than 30% of the employees he hired last season.

For the most part, this is probably standard for most landscaping companies. While there is no exact number, Jay Murray of TLC Landscaping Design & Pools estimates that the average retention rate for the landscape industry is around 25%. From a cost perspective, replacing 75% of your workforce every year can be a disaster.


5 ways to keep your best employees

Finding the right employees is crucial to your business success. The wrong employee can frustrate other crew members, lead to a decrease in efficiency, negatively affect the quality of work, and waste your time and money.

The reality is that keeping employees is significantly cheaper than hiring new ones. Some estimates indicate that it costs 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them once they leave. Luckily, there are some things you can do to hold on to your employees (and save you money).

 

#1 Show employees the future

It’s a sad reality that the landscaping industry often only sees “laborers” rather than employees. Not enough companies invest in retaining their employees and empowering them to think of landscaping as a career, rather than a seasonal opportunity. Unlike other skilled trades, landscapers have a tendency to hop from opportunity to opportunity, looking for a slightly better gig. As an employer, show your crew members that there is a real opportunity for growth and success, not just in the industry, but in your company. Let employees know what your plans are and lay out how employees can play an important role in the growth of the business. Create a clear career pathway for entry-level laborers to become crew leaders, supervisors, or even partners, including goals and timelines.

#2 Be open and transparent

This is a problem for business owners in any industry. Create clear lines of communication with your employees. Encourage foremen and crew leaders to do the same with their team. Let them know your challenges, your goals, and how you plan to get there.

#3 Celebrate employee achievements

Your people are your biggest asset. Where would you be without the employees who deliver the excellent service your business promises? When an employee goes above and beyond, celebrate them openly. Let the rest of the crew know that you pay attention to the great work they do and are proud to talk about it. Celebrate work anniversaries, even the small ones. It’s not too much to shake an employee’s hand after their first month, or even their first week.

#4 Share your values

Your company was built on your values. Hard work, integrity, and quality are more than just brand promises, they are what you believe in. (As an aside, people always love a good underdog story.) Don’t be afraid to be open about how your values shaped the company, and how you expect your employees to live those values as well. The great thing about values is that they give us an understanding of how to behave, and something to believe in as well. Many of us are looking for a leader to get behind. It’s powerful team building stuff.

#5 Invest in education

When you invest in educating and training your employees, you are directly investing in the success of your business by empowering your people to succeed. Investing in formal training shows your employees that you’re thinking of their future, that you care about their professional development, and you want to give them the tools to make a great career. Think about offering small salary incentives to employees that participate in your formal training programs.

If you’re ready to get serious about investing in your employees and your business, Greenius has the tools to help you succeed. Our formal online training can help you get the most out of your employees, and help your employees get the most out of the time they spend working with you!

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