How To Fill Open Positions at Your Landscape Business

fill open positions

Building a team is a multi-step process that involves recruiting, interviewing, hiring and developing team members. Ideally, you work through this process from beginning to end, because we know from experience if you skip any one of these steps, the result could be a very expensive mistake. Because hiring and onboarding is a process, it takes time. You want to constantly be engaged in the process in order to anticipate potential gaps in your organizational structure, fill open positions and grow your team.

Without a hiring process, you’ll end up falling into a just-in-time hiring cycle that results in filling open jobs with warm bodies. Because of that, your performance, customer satisfaction and revenues will likely suffer. Therefore, if there is any one take-away we can emphasize in this section, it is this: You are always hiring.

Fill Open Positions: Recruiting

fill open positions

Recruiting is the process of getting candidates for hire. Most contractors will tell you that running an advertisement when you need an employee is the least effective way to get good employees. In times of low unemployment, you will not have a good pool to pull from and get mostly weak candidates. Even in good times, you get mostly people who are out of work (usually with a good reason). Here are some more effective strategies:

Incentives. Industry companies tend to favor word-of-mouth methods, incentivizing employees for referring people that they know. For instance, a company might give a $50 incentive to an employee who brings in an employee that stays at least 90 days after which they would have passed a company introductory period of evaluation.

“Now Hiring.” If your company is located in an area where other companies hire from the same general pool of labor, you will get walk ups looking for jobs. You should have a system for screening these employees. We think it is a mistake to put up a sign saying that you are not hiring. Our opinion is that you should always be looking for good people. If one comes along you can replace a lesser employee. This way you build a more qualified workforce.

Job Fairs. Another effective method for recruiting good employees is to recruit and local job fairs or trade schools. While this can take time the payoff in getting higher quality employees justifies the time expense. While you might not succeed instantly, you are trying to build awareness that you are a quality employer. You are building good will and setting a foundation for long term success.

Head Hunters. Industry companies without proactive recruiting efforts end up resorting to head hunters. This is our least favorite way to hire people. Head Hunters get paid when you hire one of their candidates. Their motivation is for you to hire a person, not always the best person.

Temp Staffing. If looking for office help, using temporary agencies can be a good way to find good office people since you can go the temp to hire route. You can try out a person and if they work out you can hire the person and pay a fee to the agency. It is a form of head hunting but comes with a tryout first.

College Recruiting. The best results can be achieved by building a relationship with local horticulture programs where you get to know the educators in the department. They are always looking for speakers and if you speak to a class you immediately become a subject matter expert and will possibly become an employer of choice. If you have a good relationship with a professor, they will guide students your way.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was an excerpt from one of NALP’s member resources, provided by well-known industry consultant Bruce Wilson. Want to learn more about bettering your business? Become a member to enjoy these resources and more.

Looking for more tips to improve your employee recruitment efforts? Attend LANDSCAPES!

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