Creating a healthy culture in your landscaping business
How employees react to problems, how committed they are to their work, and how honest they are with time and attendance – it’s tempting to think that these things are just a function of a person’s character. But the reality is that they are heavily influenced by corporate culture. In short, culture is just as important to a local landscaping company as it is to a tech company or multinational brand.
With this in mind, leaders in the green service sector can benefit from asking two questions about their company: What are the benefits of a healthy corporate culture? And how does our organization build you up?
But before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at what “culture” actually means.
What is corporate culture?
Culture is about both actions and attitudes. How does the organization act and how does it encourage its employees to act? What is upheld as the golden standard for behavior, what is swept under the carpet or simply tolerated? In practice, your company’s culture is simply related to what it’s like to work there, and this is absolutely important for your team members.
Studies and surveys have shown time and again that for a large proportion of the workforce (and especially younger workers and job seekers) culture is more important than pay. Plus, according to a research by Glassdoor, 73% of adults in the US don’t even apply to a company whose values don’t match their own. The bottom line is that employees care a lot about workplace culture, whether they think of it or call it that.
What is the benefit of a healthy culture?
There is a long list of positive results associated with a healthy corporate culture and countless think tank studies to back them up with hard data. But when you get to that, it’s just common sense.
In fact, it’s very similar to doing sports. You can have the best players, coaches, and strategy, but if you don’t have an organization top-to-bottom on the same page, you can feel the ill effects on the bench or in the dugout. The team has to believe in itself and to do this it has to trust its leadership.
When you have this up and running, things just seem to fit.
Most of the time, when there is a strong culture, everyone trusts and helps each other. They’re excited to perform, ready to work hard, and proud of their contribution. you want to be there and it shows. That makes it easier to keep bringing them there and attracting new talent too. This is more important than ever in landscaping. Industry-wide growth has made it difficult to find and retain skilled workers, and few companies can afford to top up salaries to compensate. Harnessing intangibles – like having a healthy, positive culture – is one of the steps they are taking can do.
Culture is also important for customers and business partners. Almost everyone would prefer the choice to work with a company that displays quality values like honesty, transparency, and basic human decency. If you have to think twice about whether your company meets this standard, you probably still need to build some culture.
How do you create a healthy culture?
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds (no pun intended) trying to figure out if your company’s culture is right or what you can do to add to its value. You could read dozens of books on the subject. Or you could focus on these simple strategies.
1. Start communicating
Employees want to speak and feel heard. Many want to bring ideas, not just raw work, and they all want recognition for a job well done. They also want to be connected to their colleagues, but only one in four feels that way. The common denominator in all of these things is communication.
Obviously, communication in landscaping can be challenging as team members may be spread across many locations at the same time, but the technology is more than capable of bridging the gap. Scheduling regular employee satisfaction appraisals and enabling company-wide conversations with a simple messaging app are two easy steps you can take to build a communicative culture that pays off.
2. Increase transparency
The benefit of transparency is a higher level of trust, and while it comes with communication, it doesn’t come automatically. In most companies, it needs to be actively maintained and explicitly promoted before it becomes the norm. One way to achieve this is for owners to bring direct visibility into day-to-day operations with apps that track costs, hours, and other data in real time.
3. Develop your people
Out of three employees who leave, one does so because they are looking for a new challenge. Not mad, not underpaid, not disabled – just bored. Other relevant statistics include the fact that 90% of millennials and 80% of all employees say they would rather receive a new perk or benefit from their employer than a raise.
The point is, people are looking for space to grow, and part of the fulfillment they seek in the workplace is the opportunity to learn new things or practice different skills. Even if you can’t offer them promotion or afford to reimburse tuition, you can almost certainly find ways to give employees the opportunity to learn and move around the organization. The more you do, the more engaged they are and the longer they stay – other elements of a healthy culture.
The final result?
A great workplace culture can have unique qualities and be based on a variety of different strategies. What all companies with a strong, positive culture have in common is that they take care of the needs of their employees and offer a work environment that motivates people to be productive. In the past, landscapers could stop by without worrying too much about these factors. Now that the labor pool is thinning and demand skyrocketing, owners must do whatever it takes to create a competitive advantage for their business, and that starts with a look inside.