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High Performance: Jumping in the pool

August 12, 2019 -  By


C’mon. Jump in. It will be fine. Or not.

Too often in our industry, new hires are expected to jump into the pool to see if they will sink or swim. Some figure it out. Others don’t. With a severe labor shortage, this approach to new hire onboarding and training is surprisingly commonplace. There is a better way.

I understand the predicament. There is a high rate of turnover in our industry and even more so for companies who routinely toss new people into the deep end. It takes time to properly onboard and train a new person, and time is a precious commodity. Why “waste” time on someone if they’re just going to leave? I get it. However, there is a better way.

The problem is that if managers have this attitude, so do crew leaders. If a new person is ignored, made to feel inadequate or worse, he or she will only stay with your company until finding a new company to bounce to. Indeed, there is a better way.

The cost of employee turnover is estimated to be equal to 100-150 percent of a person’s annual salary. This accounts for the total cost to the company of employee turnover, including recruiting, background checks, drug screening, administration, basic training, unemployment insurance, loss of reputation, cost of accidents, etc. There are about 30 specific items that comprise this number. It’s a big cost. There truly is a better way.

The better way involves taking the enormous cost of employee turnover and reallocating it toward making sure that each new person is blown away by his or her experience with your company. No more shoving them into the deep end to see what happens; instead, provide them with the time, tools and resources they need to be successful.

The fact is that there is a cost either way. You will either spend money on the 30 implications of high employee turnover or you will spend money on creating a company that nobody wants to leave. The choice is yours.   

Now go forth.

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Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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