By Maria Pallotta, chief of staff, Canopy Lawn Care, Raleigh, North Carolina
One of the most impactful conversations of my career happened during my first week at Canopy Lawn Care. Our CEO, Hunt Davis, had a conversation about one of his long-term goals at Canopy. He wanted our workforce to match the diversity of our customer base. And for us in Raleigh, North Carolina, that means a workforce made up of more women than men. In Raleigh alone, more than 20 different languages are spoken. When he gave me that goal, my initial reaction was that it would take 20 years for us to get there.
But it doesn’t have to take us that long.
My passion is recruiting more women into our industry and giving them a safe and successful place to grow their careers. I believe we can offer that. And if we place a focus on recruiting a more diverse workforce, our companies will reap the rewards.
Our companies will be more successful if we have more diverse opinions at the table. When decisions are made by one audience, it hurts everyone. More perspectives will help us gain clarity and it will help us all to make smarter decisions. I also believe that those diverse perspectives will help us to improve our customer experience and relationships.
Melinda Gates just released an incredible book called “The Moment of Lift.” She talked about her experiences with women all over the world and she said: “Gender diversity is not just good for women; it’s good for anyone who wants results.”
At Canopy, we place a focus on diversity not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because we believe it will be a pillar of our success.
If you are passionate about recruiting and retaining women at your company, here are a few tips that will help.
Recruit & Retain Women in Landscaping Tip #1: Listen
Talk to the women at your company. Ask their opinions on what would make life easier. If they are working in the field, would different equipment make their lives easier? Ask them if there is anything holding them back from recruiting other women to join the company. Ask for their advice on what you can do differently to recruit more women. These women will give you the inside scoop on how things can be improved or changed. Ask for feedback and give them a safe place to share their opinions. Open the door to that conversation!
Recruit & Retain Women in Landscaping Tip #2: Update Your Recruiting Strategies
Did you know that women tend to only apply for jobs they are 100% qualified for? When you look at your job descriptions, is there anything in there that might be holding women back? Also, think about your employee experience. Is there anything that could be improved during onboarding to make your teams feel more welcome? Do you have uniforms that also cater to your female team members? Small touches during this process go a long way to welcoming more women and retaining more women.
Recruit & Retain Women in Landscaping Tip #3: Create Metrics and Goals
Any time you roll out a new initiative or program, it’s important to create metrics and goals. We track all diversity metrics including generation, ethnicity and gender. We also have goals in place for where we want to be in one year, five years and 10 years. The data will give you a clear picture of where you are and where you can improve.
I believe our workforce is changing, and we have a lot of work to do to make our workplaces more welcoming and supportive for all. By paying attention to our culture and the feedback from ALL team members, I believe we can build a workplace that everyone will want to be a part of.