Make your biggest challenge your top priority

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By Marty Grunder

We just wrapped up two great ACE Peer Group meetings in New Orleans, where ambitious owners of landscaping companies came together to discuss the challenges they’re facing and share solutions that work.

Not surprisingly, labor came up again and again. As we all know, most everyone in our industry is struggling with finding and keeping good workers. Yet when our executive coaches Jason Cali and Jason New, who facilitate several of our ACE Peer Groups, ask owners how much time a week their spending on solving their labor problems, they almost always hear the same answer: “Well, a couple hours, but that’s because I have so many other things to do!”

Now, as an owner of a landscaping company myself, I can completely relate to that, but I also know that if you don’t make confronting your greatest challenge a priority, you’ll never get past it and your business won’t thrive.

Set time aside every day to focus on attaining and retaining a good team. Put it in your calendar and treat it with the same attention you would for a sales appointment with a major prospect. You wouldn’t cancel that meeting, and you shouldn’t cancel the time you’ve set aside for labor either.

Assign a capable team member with the responsibility of becoming a real expert on hiring. With the rise of social media, competition from other industries that may pay more, and a younger generation that has its own ideas about what they want from a job, you have to continuously think about and research new ways to find talent. At Grunder Landscaping, our HR director, Amber Fox, has proactively researched and pursued every avenue available to us to find the right candidates for the right jobs. It’s a lot of work, but we know we’re only as good as the people we hire.

Hire a professional recruiting firm focused on the green industry for help. Sometimes the best use of your time and resources is to turn to outside experts for help. When Jim and Jason aren’t running ACE Peer groups for us or sharing their insights at our learning events, they’re finding top talent for green-industry companies around the country through their firm, McFarlin Stanford.

A good recruiting firm like McFarlin Stanford is constantly networking and building bench strength for the roles you need to fill, saving you the time and hassle of dealing with posting jobs, reviewing hundreds of résumés, and interviewing candidates to build and maintain your team. A good firm will also have a rigorous screening process that can provide you with more information about potential candidates than you on your own can typically learn in an interview. They’ll help you draft offers that are competitive and deliver the best value to you. And the best part? At firms like McFarlin Stanford that don’t work on retainer, you don’t pay anything until and unless you hire a candidate they’ve found for you. To me, that’s a win-win.

If you’re continuing to struggle with finding good team members, make it a priority to tackle it head-on. And if you want to learn more about what McFarlin Stanford can do for you, give them a call at 214.702.1955 or shoot them an e-mail at recruiting@McFarlinStanford.com.

Have a great week!