Pass the Kool-Aid

A commitment to training helped Snow Creek Landscaping build and maintain a strong company culture.

November 14, 2011
Kristen Hampshire
Industry News

When employees buy in to the company mission, everyone is focused on the firm’s success. At Snow Creek Landscaping in Arden, N.C., President Tim Boone began focusing on culture a couple of years before the economic downturn. He enlisted in green industry consultant Jim Paluch, and the company participated in training curriculum designed to improve processes and build a united front of employees.

“Without dedicated employees and a productive work environment, we could not have grown to our highest gross sales of over $7 million, and we could not have weathered our last few years of $3.5 million,” Boone says. And during these leaner years, Boone has maintained his staff of key managers – no cuts there.

Part of what keeps employees engaged at Snow Creek is the company’s commitment to training. The firm hosts yearly strategic planning workshops attended by a steering committee called the Summit Committee. The subjects discussed here – vision, products/services, marketing, customer service and more – are passed down through the ranks at weekly tailgate sessions.

“We focus on getting information from the top of our organizational structure to the bottom, and then from the bottom back up top,” Boone says, noting that topics range from plant installation to equipment maintenance to financial planning.

These weekly tailgate meetings provide an opportunity for employees to offer feedback, Boone says. Also, the training helps the company standardize processes: “We give our crews a voice so they can say, ‘This isn’t working,’ or, ‘I think we can do this another way,’” Boone says. “And that gives us consistency (in the field).”

Boone suggests partnering with an adviser who can help facilitate strategic planning or oversee a company-wide training session. “Consultants can really guide that process and help you determine your strengths and weaknesses,” he says.

And there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Boone trusted a training program he says is “tried and true,” and having an outlined process made it easier for him to implement a robust training program and to build a stronger company culture. “We started developing our people, our culture and processes to get our production counts better,” Boone says. “And that allowed us to stay productive and keep up the morale of our company even though we had a downturn in the economy.”


This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's Business Builder. To continue reading about Snow Creek Landscaping:

Design and build – a smooth operation: Constant communication plays a big role in pulling off projects.

Natural expansion: Snow Creek Landscaping’s focus on innovative, sustainable design necessitated the creation of a sister business: a landscape architecture firm that will help the company deliver soup-to-nuts service.