When my brother Andy and I started Landscape America back in 2006, we had a dream. We wanted to provide a place of real opportunity for landscape professionals. We wanted to build a team that saw the industry as a rewarding career, and our company as a place to grow.
We started this company because we believe our work is about more than just a paycheck. It’s about beautifying the outdoor spaces where all of us live, work, and play. Each day, we strive to do this for our customers and clients.
But we’re only able to do it when everyone working for our company is on the same page. And the only way we’ve been able to do that is through proper, consistent training.
There are so many reasons to train, but here are some of the most important ones for us:
A strong workplace culture — The culture, or the environment that we create for our employees, is crucial. Over the years, we’ve worked to create a company that encourages individual input, superior customer service, and constant improvement. A good culture feeds into itself and our team is happier and more committed with the work they do.
A high level of work — Our customers expect and require a high standard of quality, and we plan to give it to them! Without training, team members will fail or underperform, cutting corners or delaying schedules. This costs us money in the long run — and means an inferior product for our customers and clients.
It’s a recruitment tool — Employees who feel unequipped to perform tasks or feel they aren’t being properly trained won’t stick around. Incorporating training that directs people towards long-term career goals often means greater job satisfaction. A more satisfied employee is likely to stay longer and be more productive. Turnover is costly, so we’ve worked to develop career paths that show our employees how they can grow with our company as time goes on.
What does training look like at Landscape America?
We try to incorporate as much training as we can, and we’re always thinking of new ways we can improve as a team and as individuals. These are some of our regular training regiments:
Thursday morning meetings — Every Thursday morning we have a meeting with all of our staff. This includes a safety talk, where we review ways to be safe on the job. We also have a “plant of the week” that we learn about — giving everyone the basics on a plant variety or species. We go over workplace best practices and protocol, cover general housekeeping items — but most importantly, we remind everyone why it’s important to maintain our high standards and put our customer’s needs first.
Orientation and onboarding — When a new employee starts work at Landscape America, we introduce and welcome them at our weekly meeting! They’re given a uniform and issued new equipment and safety gear. If they’re going to be driving, we have them go through a driving test with our mechanic to make sure they’re comfortable behind the wheel. We’ve also recently introduced Greenius training videos for our new staff — giving them a solid background in landscaping best practices before they’re out in the field.
Regular training days — During late winter and early spring, we organize days out for our staff at local garden centers, where we go over general botany topics and helpful horticulture tips and tricks. Some of our hardscape crews have even spent time at a nearby Unilock plant to learn how best to do interlocking brickwork!
Professional development — We love it when our employees want to add to their skills. If they’re interested in something, we encourage them to learn more about it! Whether its a hydraulics operator or pesticide use license, a Massachusetts Certified Landscaping Professional or Arborist (MCLA and MCA) certification, Certified Snow Professional certification, or a trade or industry show, our staff have found many ways to improve. We offer a reimbursement plan to them if they choose to pursue something.
Equipping and empowering leaders — We have regular one-on-one meetings with our managers and leadership team. We encourage our leaders to run their job sites like it’s their own job site. We also have peer reviews done each year, where forms are filled out anonymously by our staff, allowing us to find ways to improve as a team.
So, whether it’s the higher level “why” of training or the on-the-ground “how” of training, me, Andy and the team here at Landscape America have worked hard to create a company that aspires to be the best it can be!