Team Building: Professional Development Options for Employees - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Professional Development Options for Employees

A lot of different factors go into why employees want to work for your company and stay long-term. Aside from paying competitive wages and offering benefits like health insurance, providing a career path and professional development can attract those who want something more than just a job.

There are a number of professional development options out there. As for which one is best suited for your company will depend on your operations and your employees’ personal goals.

Certification Programs

Certification programs test your employees’ knowledge and identifies they have demonstrated a standard level of skill, experience and expertise in their field. Some of the options available in the green industry is becoming Landscape Industry Certified, a Certified Snow Professional or an International Society of Arborists (ISA) Certified Arborist.

Certification gives your employees a sense of achievement outside of the company’s in-house training and is a testament to their skills. Offering certification can attract highly qualified people and retain them by providing them an opportunity to progress in their careers.

“The Landscape Industry Certified program is an excellent tool to help educate and train your team. Untrained and/or undereducated staff can lead to inefficient and inferior quality work which will cost more in the end,” says Shayne Newman, LIC, president of YardScapes Landscape Professionals, based in New Milford, Connecticut. “Underqualified employees can also lead to concerns of safety which may put fellow team members at risk, which is an extremely important point to consider.”

Language Classes

If you have Hispanic workers or other employees who are non-native English speakers, sometimes offering English Second Language (ESL) classes can be beneficial if they are not proficient in speaking English. There are a number of options like paying for classes at a local college or bringing a tutor to your organization regularly.

It can be even better by offering Spanish classes for your English employees as well as it shows mutual respect. This is what Thomas Fancher did at his company, The Plant Concierge. He noticed an immediate improvement in the company culture, especially among the team members whose first language was not English.

“We started off with both English and Spanish classes,” he says. “The guys who spoke Spanish were excited to see us using more Spanish, and we were excited to see them using more English. They appreciated it so much.”

Leadership Courses

Having a strong and dependable management team is hard to come by, but offering leadership courses can help you find rising stars in your own organization by preparing them properly.

Leadership training promotes independence and it can shift workers’ mindsets to one focused on growth. Without offering leadership training courses, you may be overlooking those in your organization who have what it takes. Provide your employees the opportunity to learn how to communicate, inspire and encourage their teammates.  

Tuition Assistance

This is one of the more expensive professional development options, but the ROI may increase accordingly as well. Employers are able to offer a portion of educational assistance tax-free.

Providing this level of professional development is an investment, but it can help reduce turnover in many cases. Not only that but it can signal to high-value job seekers that you value your employees and are invested in their professional and educational growth.

Relevant coursework can help sharpen your employee’s knowledge, improving their performance and productivity.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.