April 15, 2015
By Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartHang on to your hats. Here we all go…Boldly into the 2015 green industry season with hopes, budgets, goals, and a team to make it all happen.

One of the hottest topics whenever I get into a room of business owners (whether in the green industry, or not), is the challenge of engaging your employees.

My husband and I (yup, that still sounds a bit surreal) were talking about fresh approaches to a trending challenge. He and his management team sat down last month, and created a list of what they believe the employees in their company want the most. The list follows.

Employees want to know the purpose of what they do, and they want to be able to make a valued difference in achieving or accomplishing that purpose.

Goals and objectives
Employees want measurable targets that are clearly communicated. And, they want these defined both for the over-all company and for themselves in terms of performance expectations.

Employees want to be trusted that they can do their job well, and want the training to do so, so that they can be proud of their accomplishments, whether it’s daily or by the project.

Training and educational opportunities
Employees need to expand their knowledge, advance their career path, and want the company to chart the course for them. Off season/winter courses might include not only technical skills training, but complementary skills, such as supervisory, creative or even hobby interest courses.

Autonomy and input
They want the ability to make valued contributions. They want to be able to achieve productivity metrics using their own unique ‘order of operations’ if it’s potentially labour or effort saving — but achieving the same end result and cost.

Job flexibility and lifestyle management
Our Gen Y and Millennials really want a balance. Gone are the days of workaholics (other than the boss). They perceive their real life to not be at work.

Recognition and attention
Employees want credit where credit is due. They want feedback. They want respect. They want encouragement, mentoring and the tools to succeed.

Freedom to innovate
Today’s employees don’t want to hear, “This is the way we’ve always done it here, so you need to do it our way.” They want to understand the desired outcome, and then have the opportunity to contribute to the plan and process.

They want open minded management who will listen to their input, and allow a bit of creativity.

Fair compensation: This might include measurable goals to achieve benefits, bonuses or perks. They want to know where the glass ceiling is, and what they need to know/do in order to move to the next level. And they want to know how much they can make given every range of skill set, qualification and contribution.

No bad apples: They want the jerks fired. Quickly. Without drama. Bye-bye. Go work somewhere else. Eliminate erosion of team spirit, collaboration, and the need to take sides. If this doesn’t happen, they lose respect for the boss.

Sound familiar? If not, perhaps you’re not listening, especially to the silence, body language and signals that indicate employees have quit long before they leave.

If you compare this list to Geoffrey James’ 10 Things Employees Want More Than a Raise, which is a great summary of company culture trends, it’s a mirror image. You can search for Geoffrey’s list at inc.com. The cool thing is, the ten items my husband Tim and his team came up with are what’s happening in an established member company here in Ontario. It’s ear to the ground on current trends in employee culture.

In my opinion, as long as one of the top five challenges business entrepreneurs face remains around staffing and attitudes, employers need to start paying attention to what they can’t hear or see as much as what they can. This requires being observant, patient, listening carefully, and checking your ego at the gate. I honestly believe that the days of 50 and 60 hour work weeks are fading fast, and as employers, those of us who’ve not yet reinvented our company culture, had better start working on it.

Resources to do this include the Build Your Prosperity Workshop, and the Landscape Ontario Peer to Peer Network.


Free prosperity tool: 10 ways to reduce stress

Spring is undeniably a stressful time in the green industry. There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. The potential for miscommunication by frazzled owners and employees is significant. A free tool from the Prosperity Partners resource library provides 10 simple tips to reduce stress and keep your perspective.

Download these tips at http://gfl.me/x2u0. A wealth of other free resources is available at horttrades.com/prosperitytemplates. The templates are organized by Prosperity Pillar, and can be customized to suit your business needs.
Jacki Hart may be reached at info.peertopeer@landscapeontario.com.