Why Employees Should Come Before Customers - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Why Employees Should Come Before Customers

A common misconception of being an owner or manager is that “you have made it” and it’s all smooth sailing from here on out. However, this is actually when the work has just begun.

As a leader in your organization, this is a responsibility, not a privilege, and you must learn to put your employees before your customers and yourself.

Paul Fraynd, LIC, co-owner of Sun Valley Landscaping, along with Seth Kehne, owner of Lawn Butler, will be presenting on why employees should come before customers on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 12:15 p.m. ET during LANDSCAPES 2020: The Virtual Experience. During this session, they will cover how to build an intentional culture that is employee-centric.

Fraynd and Kehne will share real-world stories from their 20-year experience in the industry.

“It’s so important to treat them the way they want to be treated because study after study shows that people want to be empowered and engaged in their work and they’ll do better,” Fraynd says.

Why Employees Should Come First

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce in 2018, 85 percent of employees are not engaged at work and 81 percent are actively considering a different job.

Meanwhile engaged workforces are:

  • more productive & make +21 percent profit
  • have increased attendance with -41 percent absenteeism
  • grow revenue 4x faster than non-engaged counterparts
  • Enjoy higher retention rates and less open positions

Fraynd says the turning point for himself was when they had a blizzard over Christmas and then snow came through the roof and soaked all the billing paperwork.

“It just made me realize like I can’t do this by myself,” he says. “I have to hire people that are probably smarter than me and better at certain tasks. I was almost at a breakdown point of just taking on too much so that’s when I hired my first employee that actually made more money than I did, and life’s been a lot better ever since then.”

How to Put Employees First

During the session, Fraynd and Kehne will cover seven areas that make a great culture. This includes having a purpose, values and creating fun at your business.

Showing genuine care for your people and being transparent with your team also helps foster a great company culture.

“The leader’s job is to be the most empathetic in the room,” Fraynd says. “If somebody is doing poorly, your instinct is to say, ‘Hey, you got to get better’ instead of saying, ‘Hey, you normally do a good job, what’s going on? Your numbers are off.’ Approaching them as fellow humans and realizing that people want to do a good job, that’s the thing that took me a while.”

He says it starts with a level of trust and having the attitude that we’re all here to do a good job and we’re all going to take pride in this. Fraynd says this mindset is like a muscle, the more you do it the easier it gets.

He also encourages modeling healthy behaviors, such as not sending emails at midnight and remaining calm during stressful events. Fraynd says he shares with his team about how he sees a therapist as it lets them know it’s okay to seek help for things you might be struggling with.  

Growing the company and recognizing your people is also important.

“Your decisions are magnified the larger your company gets bigger so it’s more and more important that you’re lifting up other people who are actually doing all the work, because you’re no longer mowing the lawns and sending the bill and doing the bid,” Fraynd says.

Benefits of Employee-Centric Company

When you choose to take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers. Fraynd says both employees and customers appreciate and respect a company that stands for their values and their people. He says the best compliment they get is when a client says “Your team always seems so happy.”

With an employee-centric culture in place, you will grow faster, make more profit and will have an easier time hiring and retaining your staff.

“The employee-centric approach to leadership changes the purpose of the business from maximizing shareholder value to maximizes the impact your business has on all stakeholders – employees, vendors, clients, the public, owners, etc.,” Fraynd says.

Want more information about having an employee-centric company? Attend LANDSCAPES 2020!

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.