One of the biggest frustrations we hear consistently from business owners in the lawn and pest industries is people. Finding good ones. Convincing them to apply. Keeping them.
We’ve tried to answer some of those struggles with our Forgely platform - making it simple to create and distribute job postings, screen candidates, and onboard and train a great team. But what if the underlying cause of your turnover rate runs deeper?
In most cases, a high turnover rate is tied to a rather abstract measure of “employee happiness.” While this is usually a combination of many other factors, and it varies by employee, there are a few common themes that separate a normal workplace from a destination workplace.
A destination workplace is a company that people want to work for. It’s a company with its own brand - a culture that speaks not only to customers, but to employees. It’s a company that offers more than a job, but a place to build a career.
Companies that are destination workplaces pay attention to the desires, needs and futures of their employees, building a dedicated team of happy employees who naturally and happily serve as brand ambassadors. They have a structure where people can advance and fill new roles as the company grows. They have a pipeline of candidates who have heard what a great place it is to work, who are ready to step forward when the right opportunity comes along.
The truth is that if you’re not focusing on making your company a great place to work, your business will suffer.
Forgive my lawn care reference: Just as you can’t build a healthy lawn without strong roots, you can’t make your customers happy if your employees aren’t.
Putting your employees first makes it possible - and more likely - that they’ll put your customers first.
A destination workplace knows it’s never too early to scout new talent
Most home service companies know that they need to be involved in the industry and the community to build an authoritative image for their customers, but networking is also critical for recruitment efforts.
Consider where you can find people who might fill your most needed roles, and then find a way to interact with them. If you’re thinking ahead, you’ll be looking at trade schools, universities, and community colleges in your area. Scholarships, seminars, and participation in career fairs can bring exposure of your brand and the industry to students who may not have been considering your field. Internships, ride-alongs, and co-ops give hands-on experience to what might become your next top performer.
And don’t forget about your website! Prospective employees will look at your website to gather information they need to make a decision. Are you leaving them to piece together their own idea of what working for you is like? Solutions like TeamBuilder give you the chance to put your best foot forward, letting potential applicants get to know you and giving them a higher-quality application experience.
Think of every potential hire like you would a potential customer. Make sure you’re highlighting open positions, company values and culture, benefits, and the hardworking team you’ve already got, and making it easy for people to apply.
A destination workplace knows what motivates their team
Money isn’t everything – and it’s not just millennials that feel that way.
A 2014 CBRE study showed that the things we typically attribute as important to millennials – variety, choice, access, transparency – are just as important to older generations. Job satisfaction is tied to compensation, business ethics, HR policy, learning opportunities, and organizational culture.
Are you providing the right motivators for your team? Consider the varying personalities you’re working with. A monetary reward might not make up the difference if an employee is putting in extra hours to meet a lofty goal. An employee that thrives on competition might be more productive when there’s an upsell competition on the line.
What about the rest of your work perks? A flexible work policy will make a big difference in attracting parents with young children. Teams with established maternity leave policies are more attractive to women. If your company offers stipends for advanced training or continued education, it helps draw in people looking to grow in their roles and take on new challenges.
A destination workplace doesn’t just rattle off a list of benefits that make them sound cool. A dog-friendly office or bottomless supply of Diet Coke in the fridge is nice, but it’s nothing compared to developing office solutions that improve the overall culture, well-being, and drive of your workers.
A destination workplace invests in its people
High turnover costs more than you think.
When a technician leaves, they take with them several months or even years of valuable experience. Some studies suggest that, between the loss of that person and their knowledge base, and the expense involved in searching for and hiring a replacement, every time a business has to replace a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average.
Keeping your employees from bailing on you takes more than just an annual pay increase. One of the biggest pieces in the puzzle of employee retention is building a structure that provides opportunities for personal growth, career development, and a chance to learn new skills.
Do you offer team trainings to enhance skills? Are employees able to collaborate across teams to learn new things? How do you react when an employee shows interest in expanding their duties into an area that hasn’t been explored at your company before? Are there advancement opportunities or opportunities for lateral moves when an employee has identified a skill set to specialize in?
It could be as simple as offering an annual allowance for employees who want to take classes to learn a relevant skill. It might be adding weekly, monthly, or quarterly team meetings to provide training on customer service or upsell techniques.
If you’re not encouraging growth and personal and professional development from your team, you’re not just doing them a disservice. You’re also missing out on great opportunities for your people to be better communicators and problem solvers for your clients.
A destination workplace doesn’t let growth sink its culture
When the winds of change blow, do you throw out your sails and hope your employees stay on board? Rapid growth can have a bigger impact on your company and your team than most business owners expect.
A big shift can have a massive impact on the culture you’ve spent so long curating. Being sensitive, rather than defensive, to the feelings and concerns of employees during a big change can keep you from losing the buy-in of your team at a time when you can’t afford to start from scratch.
Some companies may fall back on temporary fixes to try and hold their teams together when big changes are on the horizon, but this can leave employees feeling strained. When major shifts occur, it’s important to reflect on what attracted your employees in the first place - and make sure that doesn’t get lost.
A destination workplace doesn’t get stuck on the small stuff
Building a strong employer brand is critical to hiring and retaining top talent, but becoming a destination workplace doesn’t happen overnight.
If you’re trapped in a cycle of vetting candidates, posting open positions, and worrying about all the small things that happen when you’re in charge of a team, it’s hard to take a look at the bigger picture – but if you want to attract and retain top talent, it's time to get out of the weeds!
Interested in learning more about how Forgely can help you stop sweating the small stuff? Let’s chat.