You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
That’s important for business owners to remember. Because while you might be hardworking, dedicated and full of vision, it doesn’t do much good unless your team is, too. Most customer interactions don’t happen with you, anyway; they happen with your employees. Like it or not, they’re the face of the U.S. Lawns brand. Train your employees.
We can preach values like consistency all day—but the real question is, “How do I get consistency from my staff?” As with anything, it starts with hiring the right people (enter TASK and our talent acquisition program). But it also requires considerable training. How can you optimize your employee training efforts to create a more consistent and effective team? Here are a few suggestions to consider.
Sometimes small businesses approach training as an afterthought, with most learning occurring on the job. Fortunately, U.S. Lawns offers standardized training tools you can implement with every hire. The more consistent your training program, the more consistent your team will be. So, if you’re looking to improve job quality in your crew, try taking them through the self-teaching modules on the U.S. Lawns intranet. Everyone will learn the same procedures, explained in the same way.
- Peer Mentor.
Most of us have some employees who perform more consistently than others. You can always tap those individuals to help you train the rest of your team. For instance, consider starting a mentoring program at your location, pairing more seasoned employees with newer additions. That way, your people can learn from each other—and become more consistent as a group. While you’re at it, don’t forget that you’re a mentor as well. Lead by example, most of your employees will happily follow suit.
- Drill Down.
You probably have a clear understanding of everybody’s job—but that doesn’t mean you’re good at explaining the specifics. Some people simply don’t excel at teaching, and that’s okay. That’s why we provide specific tools to help educate your employees, such as job descriptions and the new hire orientation video. Keep in mind that employee education must be specific and detailed in nature when you work in an industry like grounds care. If that’s not your teaching style, we can provide the support you need.
Individual accountability is one of Ken Hutcheson’s Four Principles of Business. When leading your team, set clear goals and track performance at all times. Share the results, and allow employees to adjust accordingly. Make sure you’re focused on reporting, and use all the forms U.S. Lawns provides. Documents like the QC inspection and the Customer Satisfaction Surveys will help you keep accurate records of how everyone’s doing. Employee performance evaluations show your employees you care about their performance and allow them to grow as your business grows. Finally, talk to your team about what “consistency,” means, and tie the concept to specific job duties they’re required to perform. The more people are held accountable, the more accountable they’ll hold themselves.
- Team Unity.
Human beings perform better if they care about the task at hand. And while it may be tough to get excited about work, it’s easy to feel invested in a team. Give your employees the chance to feel part of a community: promote team building activities, offer incentives and take time to bond as a group. Maybe it starts with chanting “Your Turf, Our Lawn” at morning meetings. Or maybe it’s a uniform presentation ceremony for every new gardener. Share the U.S. Lawns BrandDNA and goals with everyone, and give them something to rally behind. When you become the Best Place to Work (as we call it), your team exhibits the same consistency and dedication as you. And you’ll have no trouble getting other, talented people to join the cause.