Cultivating the Employee Experience - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Cultivating the Employee Experience

Do you have a plan for the employee experience from start to finish? Many lawn care and landscape companies don’t really have this planned out and instead let it happen by accident.

Neal Glatt, managing partner of GrowTheBench, says operating this way is like baking a cake and not even trying to follow the recipe. When you don’t follow a set plan, you can have blowback as previous employees share their bad experiences with your company on review sites like Glassdoor.

Neal Glatt

Glatt will be presenting on how to “Cultivate the Employee Experience” during his session at LANDSCAPES 2021 on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET. In this session, he will share how to coach today’s workers in a way that is motivating and how to shift your management style to boost retention and employee engagement.

This session is ideal for those who are struggling to find people, those who have people who aren’t performing to their expectations, and those who have attempted a major leadership initiative such as a new sales process and it didn’t go well.

Glatt compares the employee experience to cultivating a plant.

“You set it up for success,” Glatt says. “You get the right conditions. You think about what you’re going to do, and then even when you put out the right guidelines, you’re out there watching it. You’re periodically checking it and you’re clipping off some things you don’t like and you’re guiding some things that you want in certain directions, and you’re continuing to put the right inputs of fertilizer and water in and you’re making adjustments on the fly because it kind of has a mind of its own.”

He says often businesses know what they want in an employee but they never ask, “What can’t we tolerate?” By knowing what behaviors are unacceptable, you are better equipped to nip those problems in the bud.

A major part of the employee experience should be learning and development opportunities, as this is what people are really wanting out of a job.

“Assuming that we have our basic needs met, the number one factor is by far the growth in learning,” Glatt says. “93 percent of the time last time somebody took on a new role, they changed their organizations to do that, which means only 7 percent of organizations are delivering the right growth and development opportunities for their people to stay there as they’re progressing their careers.”

Because employees want to learn and grow, it is important for bosses to transition into coaching. By coaching you can also clarify expectations and ensure you and your employees are on the same page.

“When it comes to sales, I get eight different things based on an assessment,” Glatt says. “I find out whether somebody really loves to win or hates to lose. It’s super nuanced, but it’s a really different motivation in the way that they’re taught.”

Glatt says the true key to effective coaching is taking the time to do it.

“Most of the time, when I talk to managers, they were promoted to a manager job because they spent a lot of time in a role that wasn’t a manager, or they did really good things in a role that wasn’t a manager,” Glatt says.

Glatt says the problem is as a manager their job hasn’t changed as the organization still expects them to be a strong individual contributor.

“Being a manager is a real job, which involves managing people,” Glatt says. “So, it’s really weird to me that managers aren’t spending 80 percent of their time just working with their people. They’re spending 80 percent of their time doing stuff on an individual level and then their people are getting the leftovers.”

Going back to the horticulture analogy, Glatt says the most important thing people have to understand is it doesn’t matter how good the plant species is or how perfect your environment is, if you are not actively working with it, things still aren’t going to work out.

This session is worth 1 CEU credit. You can earn up to 13 CEU credits by attending sessions at LANDSCAPES 2021.

Want more information about cultivating the employee experience? Register for LANDSCAPES 2021 and we’ll see you in Louisville!

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.