Team Building: Utilizing a Vanpool for Employees   - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Utilizing a Vanpool for Employees  

Photo: Environmental Enhancements, Inc.

Depending on your lawn care or landscape business’s location, this could be hampering your possible recruiting scope for employees. One way to broaden your range is by implementing a vanpool program.

The Greenery, Inc., based on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has had a vanpool program for over 25 years now. Jerry Ashmore, director of workforce development and safety for The Greenery, Inc., says they were having a hard time finding local and dependable labor to show up for work daily.

The Greenery uses 15+ vans and trucks to bring in around 15 to 20 percent of their workforce daily.  

Environmental Enhancements, Inc., based in Sterling, Virginia, started their vanpool program more recently in 2017. Carmen Kesteven, HR manager for Environmental Enhancements, says they have two Ford Transit vans that allow them to carry at least 15 employees. They currently have 12 employees taking advantage of the program.

Pros

Kesteven says they started their vanpool to help with employee retention, attendance, and to provide reliable, safe transportation.

Photo: Environmental Enhancements, Inc.

“We at Environmental Enhancements care deeply for our employees; we make sure there are taken care of,” she says. “Our employees are our asset and are very important to take care of our clients. When we implemented the program, our employee attendance and retention improved. What better way to get loyal and engaged employees, we provide them transportation so they come to work and get a paycheck to support their loved ones. The company can continue to keep clients happy also!”

Ashmore says the main benefit of offering a vanpool is having employees come to work each day. Kesteven adds that their employees don’t have to worry about having a reliable vehicle or fuel costs.

“We can count on that our employees will be at work and we as a company can continue to provide quality service to our clients without any issues,” Kesteven says. “Our employees do not have to worry about anything else but being ready and on time to be picked up. Environmental Enhancements pays for the vehicle service, for the fuel, and tolls.”

Cons

As for possible drawbacks of the program, Ashmore says it is a large exposure, liability and expense for the company. Consider the costs you will incur to get the program up and running versus the costs of having missing labor if you are trying to decide if a vanpool program is a good fit for your company.

Kesteven says the only drawback they’ve experienced is the driver having to wait for a little bit if the employees are not ready, but this is not a common occurrence.

Advice for Others

While vanpools are a great recruiting/retention tool for employees, make sure to communicate the responsibilities to the team members taking advantage of this benefit. This includes being ready to be picked up on time, keeping the van clean and safe, notifying the fleet manager if something is wrong with the vehicle and notifying the safety director if the van is involved in an accident.

Ashmore adds you should train your van drivers and service the fleet regularly. When it comes to adding more vans, Ashmore says they will discuss when is a good time to add another vehicle as the current vans/trucks are nearing capacity. Kesteven says as the company grows, they will consider adding more to the fleet, but currently, what they have works perfectly for their employees based in Maryland.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.