November 15, 2017
By Myscha Stafford
Membership and Chapter Coordinator

Myscha BurtonFor years, companies have been having an increasingly difficult time finding reliable staff. Why? Of course, there are many factors involved. Perhaps it is time to change the perspective — from examining the shortage of workers to examining the companies looking to hire. What are you doing to attract new staff? It appears the game has changed and potential employees are looking to get more out of their jobs than just a paycheque.

What do employees look for?

For answers, I went right to the source and asked full time green professionals a series of questions about their jobs. They all shared similar answers. Your staff enjoy working outside; that is why they are in this profession. They know the work is hard, that conditions can be rough, and that is a challenge of their work that they actually enjoy. That being said, conditions are also one of the greatest challenges of their jobs (precarious hours on rainy days, working long hours, working weekends).

How is your company adapting the workplace environment to address these challenges? Has your business enacted an overtime policy? Do your staff work weekends? Do you hand out awards at the end of the season to boost morale and recognize your top staff? Do you have profit-sharing or give out bonuses?

Review your screening process Another thing to consider when hiring new employees is your screening process. Just because landscaping often requires physically demanding work, you shouldn’t automatically count out applicants who are much older than what you desire. Think about how a more experienced person could fit in on one of your crews, or work elsewhere in your shop or office. Consider them for all of the various roles within your company. Also consider how you could reallocate responsibilities of current employees if a particular candidate over the age of 40 or 50 has a specific area of expertise or experience.

A candidate with other expertise could also give your company an opportunity to expand into different areas or take on different types of projects. If you are looking for hard-working, reliable staff, you should not be excluding older candidates.


Opportunities for advancement

When asked what they would change about their job, full time professionals said they are looking for more opportunities for advancement in the companies they work for, as well as more opportunities for training and development. Staff are far more likely to be remain loyal to the company they work for if they feel there is room for growth and this applies to staff of any age. When staff members feel they play a valuable role within the company and there is room for their career to develop, they are very likely to perform to the best of their abilities and will want to return next season.

Invest in training

Through the challenges of finding good, skilled labour, Landscape Ontario’s annual Professional Development Series and many other opportunities were born (see Terry Murphy’s column on page 28). LO members can now register for the many training opportunities held from now until April (including Congress conference sessions, and special events) at a reduced member rate. Make learning and development company-wide. You and your staff can also attend a local, informative chapter meeting where topics are relevant to the success of your business. Participating in the many opportunities will result in more skilled, engaged staff who feel valued and a part of the company for which they work and will be more likely to return next year — saving you the time, headaches, and cost of having to find and train new employees.

Myscha Stafford (LO’s thought-provoking Millennial) can be reached at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 2333 or