Team Building: What Employees Like Best About a Good Company Culture - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: What Employees Like Best About a Good Company Culture

Photo: Ideal Landscape Group

You’ve probably heard company culture listed as a top reason employees stay at a landscape organization. Today we’re diving into the more specific aspects they like and the benefits of a strong company culture.

What Resonates with Employees

Dean DeSantis, owner of DeSantis Landscapes, based in Portland, Oregon, boils it down to trust.

“Trust that they’ll be treated fairly, trust that they’ll be communicated with honestly and frequently and trust that if one of us, any of us, makes a mistake, we’ll fix it and make it right,” DeSantis says. “When there’s trust, then people can be fully themselves and that’s what I like about it.”

Similarly, Paul Fraynd, co-owner of Sun Valley Landscaping, based in Omaha, Nebraska, says his employees appreciate how transparent they are about what’s going well and what’s going bad so they can see the whole picture.

“We allow them to be autonomous, be independent and have an impact on either their division, their crew, the jobs that they sell, the accounting that they do, so it’s kind of entrepreneurial in nature,” Fraynd says. “We’re dispersed throughout the city every day, so it’s important that we give them the whole picture and give them a chance to serve the clients.”

Matthew Spiece, general manager of Joshua Tree Experts, based in Stockertown, Pennsylvania, says their employees appreciate they can provide open and honest feedback to managers and leadership without fear of retaliation. They also appreciate the ongoing training opportunities.

Employees of Ideal Landscape Group, based in St. Louis, Missouri, enjoy how they are treated at the company.

“Doesn’t matter where you fall on the org chart, you are just as important to our success as a team, as the managers and owners,” says Silas Dill, general manager of Ideal Landscape Group.

Ideal Landscape Group has four-day work weeks for their field staff, providing better work-life balance, and multiple company events for their employees.

Fraynd says his employees also appreciate all the little decisions they make that show they put people first.

Fraynd says that paying at or above market wages, having well-cared for trucks and doing good work are all merely table stakes to get you through the door. He says what draws people to their company is the fact that employees feel they can be heard, make an impact and do more than just collect a paycheck.

“We believe that people want to do good work and so we just try to create an environment where they can do that,” Fraynd says. “We’re growing fast.”

Dill adds that it is the company that has incredible bonus programs and profit sharing at all levels of the company, monthly and yearly awards recognizing employees for their hard work, and generous raises that has the least amount of turnover.

“Take care of your people, and they will take care of you,” Dill says. “It’s that simple.”

Benefits of Strong Company Culture

When you are intentional about creating a company culture that supports and listens to its team members, the result in improve recruiting and retention is evident.

“There is a lot of movement in our industry, people changing jobs and working at various companies throughout their career and word gets around which company is the best one to work for,” DeSantis says. “By focusing on a strong culture we become that destination company that everyone in the industry wants to work for, and to be honest, it’s been working. It’s not that we haven’t had any labor shortages, but it feels like its been less dramatic than what I’ve been hearing about throughout the larger industry.”

Dave Buckel, president of Ideal Landscape Group, says they have several employees who have 25+ years with the company.

“People apply because they hear that they will be treated with respect, that if they work hard, come to work on time, and have a great attitude, they can do anything,” Buckel says.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.