How to foster more teamwork in your landscaping company

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When you finally get enough workers to get you through a season the last thing you want to do is lose them over something is fairly preventable and that is creating a sense of belonging.

Everyone wants to have a purpose and if your landscaping company isn’t working to cultivate an atmosphere of teamwork throughout the day some employees may not feel inclined to stay for any extended period.

Not only are you less likely to encourage loyalty, you can also miss out the productivity and morale boosts that come from teamwork and when all employees are working towards the same goals.

Below are some elements to consider adding or improving in the workplace if it seems the spirit of teamwork is lacking among your workers.

Develop strong communication

No sports team would be able to execute their plays if there wasn’t clear communication prior as to what everyone is supposed to be doing. Likewise, your employees aren’t mind readers, so you need to clearly communicate your expectations and also be open to listening to their input.

By encouraging feedback, it shows that you trust and value your staff’s opinions on various projects and end up coming out with the best of everyone’s ideas as well.

““Everyone wants to be talked to in a respectful manner,” says Jerry Gaeta, a business consultant and 30-year landscaping industry veteran. “In fact, you’d be surprised at how many business owners don’t even speak to their laborers at all.”

It is also important to have clear channels of communication so when there is an issue your employees know who they need to take it to and what is best way to reach them.

Being open and direct also helps mitigate any disputes or disagreements that may occur. When co-workers feel comfortable to discuss ongoing problems, you can work to solve these instead of allowing them to fester, deteriorating any sense of unity.

Encourage accountability

Another element that can help your staff feel more like a team is to evoke a sense of accountability. It is easy to shift the blame when no one has any clear roles in a company so make sure that everyone knows who is responsible for getting what done and hold them to those standards.

Also, when employees know the duties of their co-workers they can work together better because they know each other’s needs and objectives for the day.  Jeff McManus, director of landscape services at the University of Mississippi, says his staff takes pride in their work as they see it as reflection of who they are as a unit.

“It is their signature to the world,” he says. “If we do our work with excellence, it reflects great pride in what we do, and our signature has greater value.”

Set clear goals

Part of making sure accountability is effective is setting clear goals for employees as well as the company. If your staff doesn’t know what the long-term business goals are for your organization, they definitely can’t help you reach them. Sharing defined, measurable goals will help keep workers focused on moving towards that objective, versus just doing the bare minimum to keep the lights on.

Setting progress targets will also let you know who is struggling and who is exceeding your expectations. Often times your workers know where they’d like to get better, so don’t be afraid to encourage them to set goals of their own. Help them develop a plan of action to attain those goals.

Provide fun social times

It’s hard for your staff to feel close to their co-workers when they don’t know anything about them, and some might not be all that open when they’re trying to get that job done. This is why it’s important to create social opportunities for your employees to better get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.

You don’t want to make these sorts of events compulsory as forced fun never works, but be sure to offer various fun activities workers can participate in. This can be events such as bowling, cookouts, softball games or just going to lunch together.

“Getting together outside of the work environment fosters a team spirit that really pays off on the job,” says Shayne Newman, owner of YardApes based in New Milford, Connecticut. “If employees enjoy each other outside of work, they have better working relationships as well.”

Reward your team

Hosting get togethers always works well to boost morale, but it’s particularly powerful when you are using it as a reward for your team for meeting one of your goals or to express appreciation for what they do every day.

If your company is working to improve safety and your crews meet their goal of having no accidents for 90 days straight, take the time to recognize them with small tokens of appreciation. This could be something simple like gift cards or a party celebrating a job well done.

Greenleaf Landscaping also sees benefits in rewarding its employees.

“We have a little program in the company called our Hero of the Week,” says Ken Schuster, owner of Greenleaf Landscaping & Gardens based in Greenleaf, Wisconsin. “Everybody on the workforce gets one vote. You vote for someone, and your reason why. The person who receives the most votes wins.”

The winner then receives a $20 gift card. Schuster says that they read through the votes every week and how it generates a lot of fellowship among crew members.

However you decide to go about foster teamwork, don’t overlook the little things like simply taking the time to listen and thanking those around you.

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