More than 100 industry CEOs, HR-focused staff, and representatives from allied industries and the Department of Labor gathered in Alexandria, Va., March 1-3 at NALP’s Workforce Summit to share strategies and best practices to attract and retain employees.

With unemployment at near record lows, many industries are competing for the same employees who landscape companies want to attract. Here are four key takeaways that were discussed that you can use at your company:

  1. Highlight your company culture

You’ve got to create an atmosphere that makes people want to come to work every day. And you’ve got to explain that to your recruits. Not only do you need to create core values and walk the talk, you have to explain exactly how you do it. You can’t just say we are a “fun place to work.” You have to explain exactly what that means (e.g. we host regular social events for all our employees, we treat everyone with respect and inclusiveness, etc.).

  1. Create a culture of inclusion and diversity

Sarah Anderson of the Tree Equities Program at American Forests noted that, “Ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform industry means.” That’s a bottom-line reason to work on your diversity and inclusion strategies at your company.

If you want to attract a more diverse workforce, first make sure your culture is open and inclusive. Then you can work on your recruitment strategies. Anderson strongly suggested partnering with non-profits that are already working with those groups.

 

  1. Create a culture of learning

Invest in education and training for staff – that will also be attractive to employee recruits. Look into new ways to train, including NALP’s Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program. Online technician training is also an option. Look at internal mentorship programs as a way to train and support employees.

  1. Do community outreach

Partner with local high schools, vo-tech schools, or local FFA chapters to introduce young people to careers in landscape – and more specifically to your company. Introduce yourself to teachers and guidance counselors; offer to be a resource for career education; or host a career day at your facility in collaboration with a local school.