Recognizing that each of your team members learns differently, works differently and is just overall different than everyone else is the first step to developing and understanding your crew. We are in a time that different generations of workers are all mingled in one. The vets and the new bees are all slaving away in the industry. Knowing how your staff works and operates will make managing and hiring that much easier.

Boomerang Workers

Keeping workers is hard, so how do you handle those that leave and ask to come back? Boomerang workers are those that quit then return later. There are many reasons for this. They may leave for another job, family, sickness or just laziness. Although, these are the workers that always come crawling back. At first an owner may want to turn down a boomerang worker or just laugh in their face if they left on bad terms. However, according to HR Today, a growing number of companies are welcoming back rehires because they require less training, know the company and in some cases, may be valuable.

So why is this? Well frankly, most of the industry is starving for workers. Even using someone for a brief period of time may be better than nothing for some companies.

Millennials in the Company

Millennials that do have an interest in hands on work, appreciate integrating technology and feedback into the job. They also want to know that what they are doing is adding value to the company. Basically, they want to be acknowledged and appreciated. Understanding what each of your team members, not just millennials, values in their job will help you to better manage them, keep them and maximize their potential. Generation Z is also now in the workforce. They have an appreciation for technology, online training and mentorship. Although slow, the Green Industry is integrating into the world of technology.

As the years go by, millennials are gaining more experience. Despite the bad reputation some millennials may have for laziness and lack of interest in hands-on work, the truth is they are the next generation. They are the ones who will be taking over for all the Baby Boomers that are nearing retirement. Invest in your young people, they are the future of your company!

Making Clear Expectations

As an owner, it is your responsibility to your company and your employees to set clear expectations. If you don’t do so you can’t get upset when your team doesn’t read your mind. One expectation that more than 66 percent of managers have is for their employees to be reachable off hours. But you can’t expect this without offering something in return. For long term employees, this means offering work benefits. If you want to have staff stay and put in the extra work, you have to offer them more. Offering employee benefits will draw more long term employees your way. So basically, this goes back to the struggle to keep employees. In this case, the key is communication. Know what you expect and want out of your team, but be willing to pay out in some way to get it. If you take care of them they will take care of you.

Changes in the Crew

Although the Green Industry has done a good (in a bad way) job of staying stagnant in many practices, technology is becoming more prevalent. Yes mowing is still mowing and planting is still planting, but technology and more advancements are making the industry bigger and better. With technology becoming more advanced, we can automate some of the design, estimating and invoicing processes. So, companies are out-sourcing some jobs. Ensuring that all your employees are trained and understand tools, technology and equipment might assist them in their jobs can alleviate some of their concerns. Better irrigation control, advances in water features and landscaping tools are all making the industry more profitable and competitive.

Make sure to keep your new guys trained and your old guys up to date on all the changes. This is easy to do with Wolf Creek’s online portal and classes during the off season. We also have a helpful, educated team in each of our location to help you through any project you may have questions on.

Alternative Employment

Flexibility is a desired attribute in jobs for millennials and generation z employees. Employment in this industry is a constant issue so you need to pay attention to what incoming workers are looking for. This industry also calls for long hours and somewhat unpredictable schedules. Knowing from the beginning that life isn’t for everyone, invest in the people who don’t have families or big obligations such as young people. Sell your company as having a flexible schedule and be willing to work with them when they desire time off. This also goes back to making clear expectations. You don’t want to be taken advantage of. Set up a clear system for requesting days off and changing schedules. This will cover you for the future but also draw in youth that don’t want a typical 9-5.

Although there is no perfect equation for managing and understanding your employees, these are some details to consider. Good Luck!

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