3 Essential Steps for Recruiting and Retaining Great Landscape Team Members

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When it comes to growing your landscape company, finding ideal team members is the obvious first step, but what’s required to keep them is often overlooked. You were impressed by them during the hiring process, and now it’s time for you to make an equally great impression on your newest hire. You obviously hope they’ll hang around and be loyal to you, so now’s the perfect time to demonstrate your commitment to them.

Setting the tone right from the start is the key to building a successful landscape team that’s dedicated to growing with your company. Here are some ways to create a predictable and actionable process for recruiting, onboarding, and training your newest landscape team member.


The most successful landscape companies look for team members, not just employees. Someone simply working a J-O-B will arrive to work late, leave early, and waste time while they’re there. Most employees do as little as possible to make it to payday without getting fired. That’s not going to cut it.

The perfect team member does in fact exist, but they’ll need onboarding, training, and coaching to live up to their full potential. Skills can be taught, but attitude can’t. Look for candidates who have a positive attitude and are willing to learn. Your team members will need you to teach them landscaping methods and techniques, how to complete tasks on schedule, how to pay attention to details, and to take pride in their work. Remember, it’s more important for a team member to be coachable than to join your team “fully assembled.”

Excellence will never be the standard when you tolerate incompetence. Hire slowly with intention and your team will improve by leaps and bounds. Think of it this way—one plow horse can pull 12,000 pounds, two horses can pull 30,000 pounds, but two horses who have been trained to work in unison can pull 48,000 pounds.

Ready for your crew to pull their weight? McFarlin Stanford can help you attract and select a winning team.


Don’t wait for your new team member’s first day to start the onboarding process. Create a thorough onboarding program in advance to make a great first impression and set a strong foundation. Your onboarding needs to be structured, but not rigid. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, and it’s important to stay flexible enough to consider each individual’s unique needs. Using these first few days well will help your new team member feel confident and prepared while also reducing turnover and improving retention in the long run.

Start by communicating what time to arrive, how to dress, what to bring, and what items to leave behind. Then move on to explain your company culture and core values. Give them a tour of the office and introduce them to your team. Describe the beliefs that guide your organization, the impact you want to have on the world, and why the customer experience matters most to you.

As you greet a new member to your team, remember that their first day is an important milestone. Thinking one step ahead is absolutely essential for them to hit the ground running. A manager or team leader should ensure that your newest team member has all of the necessary tools and resources to do their job well. Are all of your procedures clearly outlined? Does everyone have access to your training materials? Are their logins and passwords set up and ready to go?

Once the safety protocols, compensation guidelines, and instructions for requesting time off are covered, assign them to a buddy. Most people feel more comfortable talking with a peer than with a supervisor. Having one consistent, reliable, familiar face who works in the same department will help them feel welcomed and empowered. Provide them with clear expectations for their performance, make sure they know who to turn to when they have questions, and check in with them frequently.

Don’t forget to make it fun! Office happy hour or lunch outing anyone?


Keeping crew members motivated 52 weeks a year is no simple task. Training is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done occurrence; and proactive employers know that it doesn’t stop when the onboarding process is complete.

Ongoing training is essential for developing a productive and engaged workforce. It helps you spot any skill gaps that need to be filled, avoid potential problems before they become an issue, and ensure your landscape company stays competitive.

Prioritizing professional development gives your team the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how their role plays into the bigger picture. Ongoing training is a great way to mitigate risk by keeping employees up-to-date on current laws and safety protocols. Plus, it’s a great way to show that you value your team and their contribution to your company.


The people you choose to hire are your greatest asset. Turning to a professional recruiting company like McFarlin Stanford to introduce you to people with compatible skill sets is like hitting the easy button for building an experienced team. We have proven success within our established network and can introduce you to the most qualified candidates within the green industry for any position you need to fill. The best part is our recruiting services don’t cost you anything unless we find somebody. Plus, if your new team member doesn’t work out for any reason, we’ll replace them at no charge. It’s a win win!

McFarlin Stanford specializes in finding the right people with compatible skill sets to complete your team. Click here to start building your dream team today!