Outline career paths to grow employees

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March 2, 2018

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Photo courtesy of BrightView

It’s important for landscapers to have a career path, particularly if they hope to grow in this industry. If one of our team members doesn’t have a specific career path in mind, we provide steps for more general career growth and broader ideas for roles. However, when a team member states they want to continue their career with the job they have, we must provide them with a clear path for growth.

Not all companies in the green industry show a clear career path for their team members. Employees come to work in our industry with a passion for landscaping. Day in and day out, they work hard, but this can be discouraging if they do not see the fruits of their labor nor a path for growth. So, it is important to show all employees that their job can become a career, and then provide them with guidance to obtain their goals.

To spot people suitable for a career at your business, use the interview process. When interviewing a person for a role, always discuss with them what they see as the next stages of their career. How do they see their future with the organization and what are their expectations as an employee? Make that part of the interview process just as important as determining their ability and skill to do the role they are applying for.

At BrightView, team members are shown a career path at typically one of two times: when they ask for more involvement or opportunities or when a lead person/supervisor sees potential in that person and starts to have a discussion about paths with them. Team members should be shown a career path to motivate them, if that is something they are interested in.

To outline career paths for employees, you really have to understand your own roles within the company and how they relate to other careers. Which portions of one job fit into another job? How does the experience in one role benefit the employee in understanding the expectations of the next role?

We have a few part-time positions at BrightView, given the nature of our business, but we do have seasonal positions as well as internships. About 10 years ago, we had an intern who worked with us through a summer and this person was so effective that we asked them to work remotely over the winter and then hired them in the spring as a full-time employee. This person is still with the company more than 10 years later, and they have moved through various roles such as crew leader, production manager, trainer and account manager. Our goal is to promote them to be a branch manager in the near future.

This is just one of several career paths at BrightView. For instance, once in the management ranks, a team member can progress from a production or account manager to a senior role in either spot with a larger scope of responsibility, which could lead to an assistant branch manager or branch manager role, then progress toward a vice president/general manager level. We offer similar career paths in our support teams as well. Or, a team member may join as a marketing specialist or financial analyst and work their way up to senior management.

Certifications are part of the process to promote our team members, and this helps to set achievable goals. Additionally, the training we do at all these levels has helped in having a strong safety performance at the company.

To provide employees interested in a career with steps for promotion, outline for them the next stages in their career path based on the job they were hired into. Let the new employee know what expectations are to develop a career in order to succeed.

Whenever anyone chooses one of these career paths, our hope is that through training and development, team members will stick with us. We have various training programs available to our team members including online training, classroom-facilitated training and video training.

Landscaping is not just about mowing lawns and blowing leaves – it can be so much more. It’s a people business and if team members strive to put out the best product and care about providing the best service possible, then this industry is truly the right direction for them.

Dan Dohar is the chief human resources officer at BrightView.