Hiring and Firing at Landscape Company

Labor Churn & Recruiting Tips for Landscape & Pavement Maintenance Companies

Hiring and Firing at Landscape Company

It’s time to reload, reward and rearrange your talent.

The grueling days of summer are slowing down a bit and snow and ice management season is looming, which means landscape and pavement maintenance companies are fast approaching a transition period. Before we know it, we’ll all be immersed in fourth quarter, and possibly snow! So right now is an ideal time to evaluate your team and make any necessary staffing changes.

This could mean that you need to hire additional help, promote someone, move an employee to a different position or location, adjust their workload, or perhaps part ways with them.

Whatever it may be, take advantage of this transition time to reload, reward and rearrange your talent so you’re team is renewed in time for the (potentially) hectic winter and the start of the next season.

An Interview with Mike Rorie on Attracting & Retaining Quality Talent

Attracting and retaining quality talent is often one of the most difficult (and ongoing) problems service business deal with. So I had a chance to talk with Mike Rorie, someone who’s been there and struggled with that. He answered a few key questions about how he handled some common labor churn and recruiting situations when he was running GroundMasters. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: What if you’ve got an employee that isn’t doing well? 

MR: Sit down and discuss why you are not pleased with their performance and listen for the response. If you don’t disagree, then put a plan to get things corrected in place. More training is always an alternative, the right type of work or department, or perhaps a new direct supervisor might turn things around for them.

Q: Where can you find employees?

MR: Your existing workforce is usually a great resource when trying to locate new employees. You can offer incentives to employees to bring in their friends and if they stay you can reward them. Church’s, restaurants and grocery stores are also places in the local community that offer a lot of foot traffic and visibility. Usually you can find a community board of sorts where you can post information. This is especially helpful if your brand is well-known.

You can always look outside the traditional route as well. When demand exceeded our ability to recruit through our ordinary sources at GroundMasters, we turned to the H-2B guest worker program.

Q: What about hiring friends or family members?

MR: As long as everyone understands that while at work we make business decisions and at home we make family choices, I don’t see anything wrong with it. When family members are continually an issue at work, it’s been my experience that everyone benefits by parting ways and having someone move on to another employer.

Q: What should you do during the interview process to help select the best employees?

MR: Your team is usually the best judge of whether or not a person is a good fit, or once hired if they aren’t working out. Think about the saying “one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch”. Your goal when hiring is to find people that will complement the team. You want your team to be well-rounded and personalities to mesh as much as possible.

To reduce the risk of hiring someone who isn’t a good fit, have multiple people at the company meet the prospect during the interview.  In the situation that someone gets hired and then doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, your stronger workers usually want to see him/her go and they make that known- which is something you should be in tune with.


How do you handle labor and recruiting issues at your service business? We would love to hear from you. Please leave your advice and any questions for Mike in the comments section of this post.

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