Photo: TheCrimsonMonkey / E+ / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: TheCrimsonMonkey / E+ / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

At The Grow Group, the coaching and consulting firm I lead, we frequently hear a version of the same story from the owners of landscaping companies. It goes like this: The owner has big plans for their business. They know the market potential is there, they know how to sell and deliver jobs efficiently, and they are gung-ho on winning. But still they are not seeing the results they want. When we ask them why they think that is, they often say it’s because their teams are not engaged or invested enough in the company’s success. Their teams, they say, just don’t seem to care.

My next question is always the same: What are you doing to foster and drive engagement? Because before we can fault our teams for failing us, we have got to get honest with ourselves about how we may be failing our teams.

And now, with the coronavirus forcing many of us to look for new ways to improve our operational efficiency and make up for revenue shortfalls, the way we treat our teams has never been more important. We need them to perform at their best now more than ever.

What can you do to motivate your team? For starters, you can ensure you’re training them adequately and regularly for the jobs you’re asking them to do. Yes, the coronavirus has forced us all to practice social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still train—grab a megaphone and have everyone spread out, or shoot videos on your phone and share them.

Other steps you can take: Ensure a safe work environment. Provide clear paths for growth and advancement. Clearly communicate your vision for the company and each team member’s role in it. Be HOT with them: Honest, Open, and Transparent. Regularly acknowledge team members for their contributions. Sure, you recognize the sales designer who lands a major account, but the crew member who shows up on time every day and hustles on job sites is crucial to your success too and should also be acknowledged in a meaningful way.

As author and workplace researcher Eric Chester puts it in his book On Fire: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People without Burning Them Out, “Great workplace cultures take care of their people, and those people provide the kind of performance, attention to detail, and customer service that grows the organization.”

Eric, who delivered our keynote address at Grow! 2019 in Denver, has interviewed the leaders and frontline workers of the world’s best places to work—from Marriott and Ben & Jerry’s, to the Container Store—along with those at small businesses that have also cracked the code for getting employees to work harder and perform better. What he found was that these companies all focus, deliberately and consistently, on taking care of their people.

So if you want to improve engagement at your company, find time this week to sit down and make a list of what you’re doing to take care of your people. Be honest with yourself. If your list is short, you, my friend, have work to do.

Have a great week!

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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