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How to keep and develop the best lawn care technicians

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How to keep and develop the best lawn care technicians

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Brad Johnson, CEO and founder of Lawn America in Tulsa, Okla., shares his 30-plus years of experience on how to retain and develop the best employees at a lawn care company.

Brad Johnson, CEO and founder of Lawn America in Tulsa, Okla., shares his 30-plus years of experience on how to retain and develop the best employees at a lawn care company.

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How to keep and develop the best lawn care technicians

  1. 1. Finding and Keeping Great Employees Lawn & Landscape Magazine Webinar April 7, 2015 Brad Johnson Founder, LawnAmerica Inc. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 1
  2. 2. • Owner of LawnAmerica in Tulsa and four other branches. • Our niche is weed-control/fertilization…not mowing or maintenance. • Built and sold two other companies, with a total of 30 years in the industry. • Have employed hundreds of folks, mostly good ones, learned many lessons, but still have not figured it all out! Finding and Keeping Great Employees 2
  3. 3. • What is the #1 problem for lawn and landscape business owners? • At conferences, in conversations, wherever, what do business owners complain about the most? • What do we always hear that is “our biggest asset”? • What is the largest expense category on your P&L? Finding and Keeping Great Employees 3
  4. 4. It’s People! Finding and Keeping Great Employees 4
  5. 5. Employee salaries and related expenses are by far the largest expense on our P&L. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 5 16.3% 51.6% 3.3% 5.4% 5.1% 3.1% 1.2% 14.0% Year to Date Company Expenses Cost of Sales Direct Labor & Employee Sales Expenses Equipment Expense Office & Occupancy Overhead & Other Contributions Net Cash
  6. 6. So where then should most of our focus be? Where is the largest area for financial improvement? Finding and Keeping Great Employees 6
  7. 7. • We’re not going to discuss much on where and how to find good people. • However, just as obtaining sales from referrals from happy customers, getting new employees from happy (or engaged) employees is the best way to do that. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 7
  8. 8. • Our focus today is on how we keep those good employees from year to year, with less turnover, and giving them a place where they want to come to work. • It’s all about Employee Engagement. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 8
  9. 9. So why do we always seem to be needing new employees? • Growth…that’s a good thing! Finding and Keeping Great Employees 9 $0 $1,000,000 $2,000,000 $3,000,000 $4,000,000 $5,000,000 $6,000,000 $7,000,000 $8,000,000 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 Series1 Series2
  10. 10. People Leave! • Employee retention in our industry is a problem. • I would speculate that many companies do not even measure and track that number, and if they do, it runs around 55-70% annually overall on average. • Over the past 5 years, we’ve averaged about 88% retention, with zero turnover in the past 8 months with 54 team members. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 10
  11. 11. So why do people leave? • We are simply not providing them with an opportunity to engage their hearts, spirits, minds, and hands into their work in a passionate and committed way. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 11
  12. 12. Let’s Look at our Industry • Are we really providing a career for our front- line employees, with an opportunity to make a good living financially and support a family? • Are we providing growth opportunities? • Are we guilty of too often just looking at our front line people as Direct Labor….a number on a P&L, and a number which we all need to keep as low as possible to make a good profit? Finding and Keeping Great Employees 12
  13. 13. • It’s really pretty simple….we have to give them such a great place to work at they want to stay, so that we’ll then have fewer new hires to make. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 13
  14. 14. So What is Employee Engagement, and Why does it Matter? Finding and Keeping Great Employees 14 There are MANY benefits to having fully engaged employees, one of which being that the chances of them staying on board go up greatly (87% less likely to leave.)
  15. 15. Establish a Baseline First • Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 15
  16. 16. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 16 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 1 3 5 7 9 111315171921232527293133353739414345474951 Team Member Engagement Levels March 2015 AVG 86% Series1
  17. 17. What about Pay and Perks? • Compensation matters, and perks and benefits matter. However……… • These only satisfy basic needs, they don’t really get one engaged. • But without having their basic needs met (money), then you won’t even have a chance to build engagement into them. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 17
  18. 18. • So are you paying as much as you can to your frontline employees, so they can actually make lawn care a career, or just paying the least you can to get by on? • Are you providing a salary structure which provides performance incentives, rewarding individuals and teams for good performance and results? Finding and Keeping Great Employees 18
  19. 19. Route Manager Incentive Pay Finding and Keeping Great Employees 19 Category Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Totals My Goal 5% Production $120 $740 $730 $1,310 $870 $890 $890 $850 $820 $1,320 $780 $430 $9,750 Production Over $195,000-5% bonus $50 $50 $20/Customer Net Gain $40 $140 $100 $0 $0 $0 $0 $20 $20 $100 $420 Respray Response $40 $40 $40 $30 $30 $30 $210 1st Application $30 $30 $30 $20 $20 $20 $20 $20 $190 Team Production Goals Met? $90 $90 $135 $90 $90 $90 $90 $90 $135 $900 Dec. 1st Cancellation Rate 15.8% $600 $600 Within 2% of goal $200 $200 NPS ___% $300 $300 $300 $900 Within 5% of Company Avg NPS $100 $100 $100 $300 Production on Total Sales-2.5% $5 $25 $35 $45 $55 $55 $55 $65 $125 $145 $90 $40 $740 Re-Spray/Production--3.5/2/1 $70 $70 $60 $60 $40 $40 $340 Avg OT $40 $170 $250 $330 $250 $180 $160 $100 $110 $240 $200 $40 $2,070 Avg Christmas Bonus $3,000 $3,000 TOTALS $565 $1,095 $1,275 $2,060 $1,395 $1,735 $1,305 $1,195 $1,255 $2,260 $1,170 $4,360 $19,670 Production Focus Sales Focus Customer Service/Quality Focus Some guys make $17K, others make $27K
  20. 20. • So yes, solid, fair pay, while rewarding employees for good performance is important. • Factors such as safety, benefits, reasonable working hours (especially Millennials), perks, etc. are all good also. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 20
  21. 21. So How do we do develop those fully engaged employees in Lawn Care? • Well, it’s sure not easy and is a constant challenge! • Front line work can be very hard, monotonous, and not real “sexy”. • However front line work can also be a great job with many positive benefits (such as being a great way to stay in shape!) Finding and Keeping Great Employees 21
  22. 22. So a few things I’ve learned over the years that seem to help. • For employees to be fully engaged, they must be provided a place where they can throw their hearts, spirits, minds, and hands totally into their work. • They must understand the WHY of what they do, and have a clear mission that defines what success looks like. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 22
  23. 23. • Employees like autonomy and trust, and to feel like they have a say in their jobs and in the company. • They must understand that it’s not all about them, but about serving others. • Employees like to work in teams. • Employees like to be managed fairly, and given good feedback on a consistent basis. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 23
  24. 24. • People don’t leave companies, they leave their owners, managers, and supervisors. • Employees like to work for companies that have good, ethical, engaged ownership. • Employees like to work for companies that give back to the community and do good things for others. They like to make a difference in their world with through their work. Finding and Keeping Great Employees 24
  25. 25. So What is our Main Responsibility? • You gotta LOVE your employees! Finding and Keeping Great Employees 25 Route Managers, Techs, frontline CSR Team Leaders, support, middle managers Me
  26. 26. • Questions? Brad Johnson Brad@Lawnamerica.com Finding and Keeping Great Employees 26

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