Company culture is increasingly becoming a differentiator for landscape businesses. A positive, productive culture has the power to make prospective employees and customers want to partner with you. Even more important, they’ll make them want to stay with you. While it can be simple to describe what your company does, as in the services it provides, it’s not always as easy to define culture. That’s because culture is a feeling. Capturing that feeling starts with identifying your company’s core values.
Core values are what support the vision of your landscape business and help shape its culture. They are the essence of your company’s principles, beliefs and philosophies. They educate clients and potential customers about what your company is about and clarify your company’s identity.
Let’s look at new research highlighting the importance of culture for a business. In addition, we’ll show you how three landscape professionals told attendees at last week’s LANDSCAPES event how they get employees to buy in to their core values.
Better Culture = Greater Business Performance
An accounting professor at Columbia Business School teamed up with three co-authors from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business to survey more than 1,400 North American CEOs and CFOs over 13 months. Overwhelmingly, the executives say a healthy corporate culture is essential for a company to thrive. Among the findings:
- More than 90% say culture is important at their businesses.
- 92% say they believe improving their company’s corporate culture will improve the company’s value.
- More than 50% say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, value and growth rates.
- Only 15% say their company’s corporate culture is where it needs to be.
Who is responsible for shifting a company’s corporate culture? Seventy percent of respondents agree with the statement, “Leadership needs to spend more time to develop the culture.”
The survey also asked whether, if negotiating an acquisition of another company, corporate culture would make a difference. Some 46% say they wouldn’t go through with a deal if they found that an acquisition target had a corporate culture that was not aligned with their own company’s culture.
You Have Core Values. How Do You Make Them More Active and Not Just Words on a Wall?
During the LANDSCAPES session, “Keys to Getting Ahead in the Lawn and Landscape Profession,” three landscape professionals shared their tips on how they make their vision and mission statements, as well as core values, more present in their day-to-day activities.
Southern Landscape Group, a $5.5-million business with 75 employees, defines their core values as quality, teamwork, passion and professionalism. “We have a vision statement and a mission statement and core values,” explains Mark Maslow, president of Southern Landscape Group, Evington, Virginia. “We talk regularly with our team about how all of the decision making we do as a team can be driven back to our core values. Every time someone shares an idea or solution, we ask how it impacts our core values. When your team can constantly tie back their decisions to these core values, they become more than just words on a wall.”
At Eastern Land Management, a Stamford, Connecticut-based, $12-million, 150-employee business, weekly tailgate talks highlight core values. “We recognize someone in the group who represented the core values best that week and provide them with gift cards,” explains company vice president Bruce Moore Jr.
At R.M. Landscape, Hilton, New York, “we use a phrase called ‘values in action,'” explains company president Brett Lemcke. “We found that to be something employees could grab onto. We’ve evolved employee of the month to this values in action and are getting more engagement from it. It brings people into the conversation and makes them feel proud of what they are supporting.”
How are you driving core values and company culture at your landscape business?