Self-Reflection: Are Your Employees Leaving for These Reasons? - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Self-Reflection: Are Your Employees Leaving for These Reasons?

Sustaining a healthy business without consistency within your workforce is almost impossible. This is true for both management and field-level positions. 

Not only is it harder to grow if you’re constantly replacing your current staff, but it also costs 20 to 40 percent of an employee’s annual wage to replace them.

Employees leave for various reasons, and some cannot be helped. They may need to relocate to a different state, or they’ve decided to retire. These are a natural part of life. However, if you are experiencing a significantly higher than normal amount of churn in your organization, it might be time to self-evaluate.

Not only can high turnover create quality issues, but it can also make it more challenging to hire if you gain a reputation of being an unsatisfying place to work. Check out some of the main reasons why good team members leave a company and consider if these might be the underlying cause for your issues.

Loss of Faith, Confidence or Connections with the Leader

Mark Hopkins, executive vice president of the central division with LandCare, says the number one reason team members leave is that they don’t have a connection with their leader. Failing to communicate regularly with your team, being transparent, and investing in their careers can reduce employees’ confidence in you as a leader.

People join your team skeptical and watch for inconsistency. It is your job to earn your team members’ trust by doing what you say.

“When you make a promise, you make a commitment,” Hopkins says.

No Tools or Training

Most people want to do the best job they can but if you provide them with machines that break down all the time or no PPE, you’re not setting them up for success. You also can’t say no experience is needed and then not provide any training before expecting a new hire to perform at the same level as the rest of the crew.

Implement a detailed onboarding program to ensure every new hire has the same baseline. Hopkins adds that every interaction you have as a leader should be an opportunity to coach and provide feedback to your team.

Feeling Undervalued or Underappreciated

Everyone wants to be treated with respect no matter who they are. Get to know your team members as individuals. It doesn’t take a lot to let your team members know you appreciate the work that they are doing. Expressing your gratitude could be as simple as a hand shake and thank you or as exciting as family day at Hershey Park. Some companies opt to share the positive feedback they receive from customers with the crews who worked on job.

“Nothing else so inspires and heartens people as words of appreciation,” Dale Carnegie said. “You and I may soon forget the words of encouragement and appreciation that we utter now, but the person to whom we have spoken them may treasure them and repeat them to themselves over a lifetime.”

No Room for Growth

If there is nowhere for employees to advance, there is no reason for them to stay at your company long term. Hopkins points out that growth doesn’t necessarily have to be promotions.

“Everyone has the ability to grow and develop,” Hopkins says. “You need to create a culture and processes that encourage your team members to be the best they can be.”

Professional development options like certification programs and leadership courses can show your team you are actively invested in their professional success.

Below Market Pay/Benefits

Lastly, it’s a common response when employees leave to say they got offered higher pay elsewhere.

If you are wondering if your compensation and benefits package needs to be updated, consider purchasing the 2022 Compensation & Benefits Report presented in partnership with Aspire. The report is designed to allow users to easily compare compensation levels and benefit policies to other companies in the industry. In addition to data on recruiting and retention, health care costs/trends, retirement benefits, vacations/PTO and holidays; sick and other leave; and sales practices, the report contains compensation-related statistics for common job titles in the industry.

Hopkins says you should compensate fairly, but money can’t keep good employees if they aren’t happy.

If you don’t think any of these are the causes of your employee turnover, make a point to conduct exit interviews so you can identify the root issue and make the necessary changes.  

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.