With newspaper classified ads priced between $200 and $700, more landscape companies are going online – often free of charge – to post job listings and solicit for hard-working
employees. Savvy companies are even hiring human resources managers to come in and ramp up the hiring process.
“When I first started looking for help earlier this year, I was using newspaper advertising,” says Chris Barnes, human resources manager/director of marketing for Southland Landscape Management in Charleston, South Carolina. “We were only getting a couple of responses per ad, so I started using Craigslist.com. I’ve received more than 50 applications in the last six weeks and a dozen phone calls.” Barnes says he refreshes the ads every two weeks.
Southland also makes job postings and their online application available on their website. Craigslist.com job postings do have a fee but they can get the attention of people who may not know a company’s name but know they want to work in landscaping in a particular area. In addition, Barnes says that if someone types the name of the company in a search engine, the corresponding Craiglist.com ads are displayed.
To further promote the company, Southland is offering scholarships at local Trident Technical College and Spartanburg Community College. Thanks to the company, landscaping and horticulture students will be eligible to apply for $1,000 scholarships.
The investment seems to be paying off. “We also have a paid internship program through Spartanburg Community College, and one of the students currently works in our Spartanburg office,” Barnes notes.
Ryan Mulligan, owner of Mulligan’s Landscape and Design in Haverhill, Massachusetts, says he has become very selective in the past year and is focused on finding and recruiting career-minded employees with the proper experience and attitude.
“I tend to notice the applicants who find us and send a professional resume,” Mulligan says. “Someone who can complete that small task is someone who will go the extra mile for my company.”
Retain your talent
Both Mulligan and Barnes offer generous benefits and perks and say this helps retain career-oriented employees who want to develop their craft.
“We have pretty good pay for the guys, and they get some overtime,” Barnes says. “We also have quarterly cookouts for the entire staff, and on an employee’s anniversary with the company we give them a gift card to acknowledge their hard work and commitment.”
Keeping with Southland’s internet presence, Barnes also compiles a monthly newsletter that often includes recognition of individual employees. Each newsletter is posted on the company’s website for anyone to view.
“We offer inviting benefits, including profit sharing and weekly bonuses for stellar performance,” Mulligan notes. “We also show our appreciation by hosting holiday cookouts and Red Sox and Celtics game trips.”
Mulligan also says at the start of each spring season he gives each crew leader a $500 check which they can’t cash until the end of November. Throughout the season, if none of the tools or equipment has to be repaired or replaced due to employee negligence, the entire check is theirs. If not, the money to fix or replace an item is deducted from the check. “This helps our employees realize the importance of taking care of our equipment, and gives them a sense of responsibility that is followed with a reward,” he says.
One of toughest factors to consider when hiring new employees is finding the right person for each job. “Unfortunately, the only way to know if a certain person will be the right fit for the company is to take a chance with them,” Mulligan says. “If after one week you’re not sure, then they’re probably not the one you’re looking for.”
Remember that anyone can draft the perfect resume, but only when put to the test can someone actually prove they’re worthy of a career with your company.