Four Keys to Empowering Employees in Your Lawn and Landscape Business - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Four Keys to Empowering Employees in Your Lawn and Landscape Business

People are your greatest resource at your lawn or landscape company. Many business owners credit their success to the team members they surround themselves with.

You can tap into this support system as well if you take the time to empower your employees properly.

Provide Training and Resources

One main reason employees may not be able to reach their full potential with your organization is that you haven’t invested in training programs to help them grow beyond what they need to do on a daily basis.

Offering employee development opportunities shows your team you value their growth and it empowers them to take on new challenges.

Chances are that you have team members capable of stepping into leadership roles, but they may not feel comfortable with the idea currently.  

Seek out individuals who have leadership qualities such as taking the initiative, strong emotional intelligence and flexibility. Take the time to mentor these employees so they feel comfortable advancing in their careers.

Delegate Tasks

It can be very easy to feel like everything falls on your shoulders as the owner, particularly if your name is in the branding. However, this mindset can also create a learned helplessness in your staff where everyone is coming to you about every possible issue that crops up.

Instead, encourage autonomy and let employees make decisions and solve problems within their roles. Companies like GreenSweep make sure their employees understand their company values so they can make informed choices.

“I know they were hired because they were smart, and they’re good at what they do,” says Kyle Narsavage, president and owner of GreenSweep, LLC. “When you’re faced with a tough decision, you’re empowered to make that decision. You don’t need the come to me. You don’t need to come to other people. You just got to ask yourself four questions. Is it good for the company? Is it good for the client? Is it ethical? Are you willing to be held accountable for it? If you can answer yes to all four of those, then make the decision.”

When delegating tasks, if you want things done a certain way, make sure you are setting clear expectations from the start. If your employees know what is expected of them, they are better equipped to take ownership of the task at hand.

Recognize and Reward Leadership

Recognizing your employees for the behavior you want to see with positive feedback and rewards can help reinforce a team of empowered employees. Taking the time to highlight employees for their leadership gives them greater job satisfaction and a stronger desire to continue to take charge.

Ground Works Land Design has a program called ‘Own It,’ which encourages employees to own things like showing up on time or engaging in critical thinking. These employees are rewarded with gift cards for ‘owning’ various situations.

“We want to empower people to own their process, own their jobs and own their truck and trailer,” says Dave DiGregorio, VP of sales for Ground Works Land Design. “Ultimately, we want the same goal. We want everyone to be great.”

Rewards can be financial or they can be opportunities like special projects or new leadership roles. Sharing personalized feedback and appreciation also shows you truly care about how your team members are contributing to the company’s success.

Embrace Failure

One of the big fears that can keep employees from stepping up is the fear of repercussions if things don’t go as planned. Encourage team members to experiment with new ideas and provide them with the support and resources necessary to try out new approaches.

Rather than punishing a team member for a failure, advise them to learn from their mistakes and continue to improve. Help your team understand that mistakes are okay when it comes to calculated risks. Often, a team that doesn’t make any mistakes isn’t trying anything new.

After a setback, conduct a post-mortem review to determine what went wrong, why and how to avoid it in the future.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.