Recruiting 2015: Get outside the box Email
Colorado Green NOW
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 08:00 PM

Recruit outside the boxAlmost all landscape firms are impacted by the lack of trained and skilled employees. Most say they could do more work—and move up the backlog—if they had more people. This situation is pushing many companies to think differently about how, when and where they recruit.

Following are 3 strategies that challenge traditional recruiting methods. They were shared by a key HR and recruiting team member with a Denver-area landscape company.

#1 – Be strategic and innovative when recruiting
Landscape firms need to think outside the box about how and where to source employees. Use the off season to find and recruit candidates who have the base skills and character traits required to succeed. Look beyond the landscape industry among Veterans or other industries to find bright people with critical thinking skills. Look for qualities and plan to train the skills.

#2 – Be deliberate in messages that describe what you do
What are the verbal and non-verbal messages that you send out about your company? Do you tell prospects that you mow 4 million square feet of turf – or that you care for the urban ecosystem and make it beautiful in the process?

Perceptions of landscape services in general as well as those specific to your company are colored by an individual’s experience as well as what they have heard or seen. Some people think landscaping means installing an irrigation system or killing weeds. For others, landscaping is the process of honoring our environmental responsibility to the planet, or it’s the art of creating relaxing outdoor spaces.

You control the message and how your firm is perceived. You can be the company that maintains the most yards or builds the highest retaining walls (quantity) – or the company that makes landscapes their best and creates outdoor places for people to enjoy (quality).

#3 – Show a visible career path
Think about how you position the opportunities you offer. Prospective employees, particularly recent college grads, want to know how they can rise through the ranks from the very first time they meet with you.

Right from the start—from “help wanted” ads to what you say in the interview—describe how an employee’s journey in your company looks. Be transparent about how to be successful in your company.

College grads often have repaying student loans on their minds, and their vision is to start out leading a project team, not running a mower. However, they will be much more willing to get their hands dirty if they understand how that experience will help them move ahead. They need to know that doing basic work helps them learn about your company and its services—and ultimately, how these experiences will help them achieve their personal goals.

Although the availability of people to work in the industry will remain a challenge, landscape companies that step outside the box with innovation, intentional messaging and creating a visible career path will recruit those people who will be glad to find their career home within the landscape industry.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Diggin’ the dirt: 2015 is International Year of Soil
How to recruit US military veterans
How does your company measure up?
What’s new in 2015 for ALCC’s Job Fair?