Team Building: Five Ways to Strengthen Your Company Culture - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Five Ways to Strengthen Your Company Culture

Photo: Ideal Landscape Group

It’s no secret that the main key to lawn and landscape companies successfully recruiting and retaining their employees is strong company culture. Good companies are constantly looking for ways to improve and provide more for their teams.

Be Consistent

It’s natural to want to test things out before rolling changes out full-scale, but you need to strike a proper balance here. Otherwise, your constant changes will result in a lack of trust with your staff. At Local Roots Landscaping, managing partner Patrick Murray says they keep their promises, like not working on Saturdays, to earn their team members’ trust.

Martin Landscape employees can earn culture coins when they display positive behaviors such as being safe, doing a great job or creating or improving a process. Team members can save these culture coins up for PTO, Martin Landscape gear, dinner with the team or a chartered fishing trip. Wade Martin, owner of Martin Landscape, says if you implement an incentive program you need to stick with it.

“I think the difference is what sets our company apart is we’re consistent with it,” Martin says. “We grade it accurately. Everyone knows the expectations to be able to get a little something extra. It’s not just a handout, you have to earn it. I think everyone understands and knows the expectations.”

Prioritize Employee Well-Being

Photo: Sun Valley Landscaping

One of the main reasons employees say they stay at Sam Hill Tree Care is because they feel safe. Owner Sam Hill says they are fanatical about ensuring they can safely perform a job.

Employee well-being can go beyond their physical safety at work as well. Local Roots takes the time to send out a wellness survey every week where staff can let them know how they’re doing.

“Essentially, we’re normalizing what people are feeling and not making them feel isolated,” Murray says. “Use discernment to direct them to the right way because I don’t think the company needs to fix every problem but I think it is in my responsibility to make sure they are being helped in some way shape or form.”

Sun Valley Landscaping implemented the Navigator program to help support employees through anything that might keep them from being physically or mentally present at work. This could include anything from challenges with personal finance, getting a driver’s license, having legal trouble, getting a loan, finding affordable childcare and much more.

Foster Positive Attitudes

Ideal Landscape Group focuses on hiring people with a positive, winning attitude to help maintain a positive company culture.

“We always say a good attitude and good work ethic are the only two requirements to work here,” says Silas Dill, director of operations for Ideal Landscape Group. “We don’t ever ask anybody for experience. We have a ton of experienced people on staff that can show people what to do. A good attitude and a good work ethic are two things that you can control every single day. You can’t control your experience; that takes time.”

At Limbwalker, co-owner Chris O’Bryan leads his staff through gratitudes every morning where they share what they are thankful for. He says this helps reframe the staff’s perspective and realize in the grand scheme of things they are having a pretty good day.

Invest in Your Team Members

One way you can show how much you care about your employees is by investing in their personal and professional growth. Not only does this investment show your commitment to team members, but it also helps them see the career paths available to them in the industry.

Photo: Green Lawn Fertilizing

LOVING helps their team reach their full potential through LOVING University, which is a tuition reimbursement and continuing education program they started in 2018. Other landscape companies offer to pay for the certifications and certificate courses like the Landscape Industry Certified Technician credential.

At Green Lawn Fertilizing, employees are encouraged to choose the type of educational opportunities they’d like to pursue.  

“Not everyone feels as if they can come forward to management with learning opportunities, so we also make sure we are proactive in presenting opportunities to our team members as well,” says Alex Wolfington, senior vice president of business development for Green Lawn Fertilizing.

Reward Your Staff

You can use numerous bonus structures, whether at the end of the year, quarterly, or based off of the company’s overall performance. Profit-sharing is another method to reward your team for their hard work.  

Ruppert Landscape, Landscape America and Back to Nature Landscaping & Construction tie their bonuses to open-book management so it is clear to employees how their bonuses were earned.  

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.