How easy is it for your irrigation business to find employees? What about retaining the ones worth keeping?
If you’re like the majority of irrigation businesses right now, you'd say it's pretty dang hard. And you know better than anyone, a business's reputation is only as good as its people in the field - working day in and day out, providing customer service, and making your business money.
The better your employees are, the better your life – as an owner – is. So once you hire the right people, you should do what you can to keep them. There's no guarantee you'll find another who can fill their shoes. With that in mind, one thing is sure: implementing a mix of actions to select skilled people and keep good employees is a marathon, not a sprint.
Cash is King
Let’s be real, money matters, money talks and some might even say cash rules everything around me. This is especially true during a labor shortage and competitive market. Plus, when you consider 60% of green industry businesses don't offer health benefits, going the extra mile on pay and benefits can attract and retain top talent.
We regularly talk with our clients about the struggles of finding reliable workers. The clients who say they aren’t really feeling that struggle, do one simple thing - they pay their employees more and it saves them in the long run. More on that later (see: Turnover Kills).
It’s not complicated. Paying employees shows them that you put your money where your mouth is and value them and everything they do for your business. And - shocker - people like working at places that value and care about them. It creates unmatched loyalty.
Talk the Talk
Communication is key to the success of any team. With all the different ways we can communicate these days, it's important to make sure we're using them effectively. You don't want to get bogged down and lose productivity. Especially when dealing with multiple techs and crews working across various job sites.
To address this challenge, a combination of reliable technology tools and clear communication practices is highly recommended. By making sure that your techs and crews know what they need to get done when they’re out in the field while also allowing them to stay connected to the office in case anything pops up.
But Don’t Forget To Listen
The best thing a leader can do is listen. Have an open door policy and listen to your employees. If you’ve got great employees, they may tell you things you don’t want to hear but need to hear. Listen to them.
In fact, take it a step further. Many companies conduct annual employee satisfaction surveys. These anonymous surveys can help you better understand the issues your employees face. If you do choose to conduct a survey, make sure you communicate the results and your plan to your employees so they know it isn’t a waste of time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program, voluntary turnover constitutes 70% of all employee turnover in the United States. Even more startling, 3 out of every 10 individuals leave their jobs within six months of joining a new company.
Losing employees can be a real headache for companies. It takes up a lot of time and money to find and train new people. If you want to keep your top employees and grow your business in the long run, it's important to make sure they feel supported and happy at work.
Be a Coach
Companies that embrace a coaching approach to managing their employees create a culture of teamwork. And teamwork makes the dream work. Rather than barking orders and micromanaging, adopting a coaching mindset allows you to provide guidance, support, and development opportunities.
This approach not only enhances individual performance but also promotes a collaborative and engaged work environment. When employees feel supported and empowered, they are more likely to take ownership of their work, make informed decisions, and contribute to the overall success of the company. It also encourages continuous learning, and resilience, which are essential to any business.
Performance via Metrics
Objective evaluation of 'good jobs' becomes nearly impossible without attaching them to consistent metrics that your business actively tracks. This challenge is particularly evident in industries like lawn care and irrigation, where numerous variables influence what constitutes a job well done.
To overcome this subjectivity, it is crucial to establish clear milestones and performance indicators for your employees. By defining specific goals and responsibilities, you enable your team to understand the standards you expect them to meet and hopefully exceed.
Opportunities for Growth
Working in a job that feels stagnant and lacks growth prospects can lead to employees feeling disengaged - leading to higher turnover and costs for your business.
To foster a motivated, reliable, and loyal team, it is essential to establish clear career paths and provide the required training for their growth. By offering opportunities for your techs and office team to develop professionally, gain additional responsibilities, and earn better compensation, you create a convincing reason for them to stay and contribute to the overall success of your business.
After taking into account all of these tips, you've got plenty of great ways to make your business a place where people want to come to work every day and be successful. They'll get to be better at their jobs - making your customers happy and helping your business thrive.
That means a bigger pile of cash for you and your business. Cash that you can then use to keep the very people who helped you rake it in - creating a self-sustaining cycle of business growth (i.e. profits) and employee retention. Congrats.
Want to get more done with the techs you have?
Then business software might be exactly what you're looking for. Check out our interactive buyers guide below to learn how software can help your irrigation business.