No-Sweat Staffing: Recruiting and Retaining Superstar Employees

By Bass, Tony | Landscape & Irrigation, September 2008 | Go to article overview

No-Sweat Staffing: Recruiting and Retaining Superstar Employees


Bass, Tony, Landscape & Irrigation


in an industry in which wages are low and turnover is high, hiring the right person can make an amazingly positive impact on your company.

According to the Small Business Association, small businesses--those having fewer than 500 employees--represent a key and vital component to the United States economy. Small firms represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, employ about half of all private sector employees, and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.

But employee turnover rate is high in our industry. Business owners in the green industry are destined for high turnover and they need to be prepared to deal with it.

The growth of any company is often limited by the inability to build a dependable, capable and talented management team. And the most frequent mistake a company makes is initially allocating too much money on traditional methods of finding employees (such as newspaper ads). Recruiting and retaining employees doesn't have to be expensive. There are several low-cost ways to build your team--and your business.

Use the empty space on business cards

Almost everyone carries a business card, but does anyone print on the back? Why not print available positions on that blank space, which costs a fraction of the original business card order? Business cards can be provided to all existing employees so they can hand them out if they encounter a prospective new team member.

Simply ask

In order to find employees, an owner has to ask for employees. And the very first place to ask is inside the company. Post a job announcement beside the time clock, the front door, and any other location in the company where people may enter or congregate. A physical posting in the office will constantly remind staff and visitors that the company is hiring. The second place to ask for employees is outside the company. Every time payment is sent to a vendor or supplier, let them know of the company's desire to find a certain type of employee. Simply include a printed copy of the job announcement inside the payment envelope.

Invest in signs

Invest between $35 and $100 in two types of signs for the company. The first is a portable "help wanted" sign that can be stuck in the ground in front of the office. I have seen small signs like this draw up to 50 applicants in one day on busy streets. The second type is a magnetic sign that can be placed on the sides of trucks or trailers. Always make sure the company phone number is displayed clearly on the sign for people who might see it after business hours or passing on the street.

Put a lid on the trash can

Keep your applications on file for as long as possible.

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