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Grow with Grunder: How do you train new hires for success?

July 22, 2019 -  By
Training is important, especially since it's becoming increasingly difficult to find and keep employees. Photo: iStock.com/BigNazik

Training is important, especially since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and keep employees. Photo: iStock.com/BigNazik

With the ongoing labor challenge in our industry, nearly all of us are in a continual state of flux, losing team members and adding new ones. Many of our new hires do not have a lot of experience in landscaping, and sometimes it turns out that those that do have it learned bad or insufficient practices at another company that now have to be unlearned. We’ve staked our vision at Grunder Landscaping Co. on being the best landscaping company in our area, and we have our own way of doing things. All of this makes having a deliberate and effective training program critical to our success.

This is how we go about it:

1. We train the trainers

Every Tuesday during our growing season, our team leaders report to work an hour early for a focused session on the knowledge and skills truly professional landscapers need to have. We cover everything including how to plant a tree, edge a bed, install boulders and where to park our trucks for maximum efficiency. Time is money in our industry, and we are constantly focused on saving it.

Following their training, our leaders are expected to share what they’ve learned with their teams. Most of this teaching takes place on job sites, and team leaders often use travel time to answer any questions our crews have. When a new hire starts, we pair them with a team leader who is directly responsible for teaching them everything they need to know.

2. We hold weekly all-team trainings

Every Wednesday, our entire production team reports to our “safety circle” at 7:30 a.m. for a short session focused on safety. At this past week’s meeting, we covered how our crews should protect themselves from the sun and heat.

Once a quarter, we hold a longer all-team meeting where we serve breakfast and invite a guest speaker to provide another perspective on a topic of interest. We’ve learned tactical breathing from a local law enforcement officer, what matters most to customers from one of our best clients and safety practices from the always-engaging Scott Jamieson of Bartlett Tree Experts.

These sessions show our team that we care about them, their safety, and their development as professionals.

3. We Conduct Check-In Calls

At the end of every new team member’s first week, Amber, our director of HR, calls them to see how they’re doing and how their first week went. Now to be blunt, the goal of this call is to ensure our new hires come back for week two. Amber makes sure they feel supported, but we also want to know if they’re getting the training and tools they need to succeed—for them and for us.

Do you have a training program in place at your company? If you don’t, take 15 minutes today to map out what you’d ideally like to do and then identify one step you can take this week to work toward getting there.

If you want to see for yourself how leading landscaping companies train their crews for success and build a winning culture, join Marty for the 2019 NALP Field Trip, August 6–7, in San Diego, CA. Learn more at https://growgroupinc.com/nalp-field-trip.

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