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Grow with Grunder: Why the team is the most valuable asset

June 15, 2021 -  By

When any labor at all is hard to come by, it can be easy to lose sight of your priorities. It’s a mistake I made early on in my years running Grunder Landscaping Co. (GLC) We’d keep team members employed and forgive their attitude issues or tardiness because we thought we couldn’t afford to lose them. Everything you allow at your business, you encourage, and by making exceptions to keep certain team members, we were sending a bad message to the rest of our team.

(Photo: kali9 / E+ / Getty Images)

(Photo: kali9 / E+ / Getty Images)

Talented team members are critical to a company’s long-term success, and they want to work with other talented people. When someone is tardy every day for a week or loses his or her temper on a fellow team member and faces no repercussions, you’re telling the entire team that their bad behavior is OK.

Your company culture is the sum of all the behaviors and attitudes present at your company. When that sum starts to turn negative, you are no doubt frustrating the real superstars on your team.

Our first line of defense in this labor market is to retain the talented people already on our teams and ensure we are supporting them. In my years running Grunder Landscaping Co., I’ve found two ways companies can make sure they’re being excellent employers that good team members want to work for.

1. Have clear and consistent expectations.

Being consistent in our expectations helps our teams understand what attitudes, behaviors and skills are required to be successful in the company. We can support their professional development simply by staying consistent, and that means following the same rules for all team members, even when we’re desperate for labor.

The core values at Grunder Landscaping are quality, teamwork, leadership and profitability, and our team’s behavior and work must always align with those, or else, we aren’t being consistent. Even knowing that we will have a hard time replacing a team member who leaves, we aren’t afraid to show the door to someone who isn’t a fit for our company culture.

2. Teach new skills.

Sometimes, our team members aren’t doing what we want or need them to do because they just don’t know how. In tight labor markets, we’re hiring anyone with a good attitude and teaching them the horticultural and landscaping skills they need. Having a solid training program in place is critical to the company’s success. It shows team members you value and believe in them, improves the quality of work you do and is another tool for setting clear expectations with your team.

We do this by having our most experienced team members train our newest team members by following this process: tell, show, do and teach. We tell our team members how we want it done, we physically show them on-site how to do it, our trainees do it themselves and then they teach someone else how to do it.

Follow these four steps, and you will see your training improve immediately.
Find a moment this month to look around your company and take stock of your own leadership: Are you setting clear and consistent expectations? Could you do more to teach your team new skills? Would you want to work for you? The best leaders are always looking to improve, and sometimes, small changes can make a big difference in your company’s culture and morale among team members.

If you’d like to see a strong company culture in action, join us for one of our upcoming in-person Grunder Landscaping Co. Field Trips. These events bring small groups of success-minded landscape pros together for 24 hours of learning on-site at GLC. The field trips fill up quickly; claim your spot now to make sure you can join us this year.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in 0621, From the Magazine
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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