Hello, Goodbye: How to Reduce Employee Turnover - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Hello, Goodbye: How to Reduce Employee Turnover

This information came from a session during the 2023 ELEVATE conference and expo. Don’t miss ELEVATE in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 3-6, 2024.

Employee turnover can be a frustrating roadblock that prevents your company from being able to scale effectively as you continually have to replace your existing workforce.

Angela Hieronimus, director of engagement and success for Blades of Green, says one of the keys to reducing turnover is understanding your workforce and tailoring your programs and initiatives to meet the of your staff.

“Just like your sales strategy, your people strategy needs to stay fresh,” she says. “Make sure you’re hitting different interests, have a diversity of events and consider the dietary needs of your staff.”

Seek Feedback

One of the best ways to understand the needs of your employees is to seek their feedback. Hieronimus stresses that before surveying your team, you need to ask yourself what you plan to do with the feedback. It is detrimental to your employee engagement if nothing is done after receiving feedback from your team.

Blades of Green conducts multiple surveys to collect this information. This includes engagement surveys that are sent out once a year and shorter pulse surveys that they’ve sent out both weekly and bi-weekly. Hieronimus encourages meeting your team where they are able to provide feedback. Pulse surveys should take no longer than five minutes to complete and ask questions about what went well this week and what was a challenge.

The company also conducts exit interviews. If an employee hasn’t provided their two weeks’ notice and simply quit, they can still send out anonymous surveys through Paylocity to collect data. For those who do provide notice, they will schedule a sit-down interview to discuss what caused them to start looking for other employment.

Other ways they seek feedback are through orientation surveys, HR quality assurance checks with new hires around day 90 and POPP check-ins. POPP is Blades of Green’s personal one page plan for employees to share their personal goals, such as buying a house, saving a certain amount or meeting a health goal.

Another way they gain feedback is through Leadership 360 surveys, which examine a leader from the different levels of the company: their peers, their supervisor and their subordinates. Hieronimus says this is important because you need to make sure your leadership is performing to your standards.  

Hire Cultural Fits

While culture has become a bit of a buzzword when it comes to employee retention, Hieronimus says this is because it is so important. She says you also need to understand your company has a culture, whether you’ve deliberately created and invested in it or not.

Consider your non-negotiables before hiring. What qualifications must these individuals have and what values will make them a good fit?

At Blades of Green, they stopped hiring individuals with industry experience a few years ago as they discovered they can’t train people to be empathetic or care about their team, but they can train the skills needed to perform in the field.

Create An Enjoyable Employee Experience

No one wants to work somewhere that they are miserable every single day. Consider your employees’ experience day-to-day and what you are doing to help tackle some of their frustrations. One way to help is to pair newer employees with a veteran employee who can teach them the ropes.

Hieronimus says they have a designated culture budget they use to put on their various employee events. She says this helps them manage and measure how much is being put towards these efforts.

Taking the time to recognize team members also goes a long way. Hieronimus notes that it means a lot when an employee is thanked by someone outside of their department.

Another way to engage employees is to make sure they see a future with your organization. This doesn’t necessarily just have to be leadership positions either. They may want to grow a certain skill or get involved with one of your company committees. Blades of Green has four different committees: safety, communication, culture and diversity, equity and inclusion.

She notes that employee engagement is also about more than just the employee. Hieronimus encourages connecting with your employees’ loved ones at events as well as they are the ones who that employee goes home to at the end of a hard day and can impact their decision to leave or stay at your company.

For more content like this, register for next year’s 
ELEVATE in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 3-6.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.