Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Training the team

Design/Installation

Instead of subcontracting, Serene Surroundings employees are trained to handle a number of services.

Kristen Hampshire | August 17, 2012

The service menu at Serene Surroundings runs the gamut, from gutter and window cleaning to complete landscape construction and lawn maintenance. Not to mention, the Plymouth, Mich.-based firm added a holiday lighting division a few years ago and also keeps busy in winter with snow removal routes.
Very little of this work is subcontracted.

How does Serene Surroundings pull it off with their own employees? Training. And vendor-sponsored education events are a big part of how Eric Lloyd and his business partners at Serene Surroundings supplement the field training exercises they offer in-house.

“Maintaining strong relationships with our vendors is really important,” Lloyd says. Manufacturers offer field training, classroom sessions and how-tos that help Serene Surroundings staff understand how to install their products. Plus, they provide online training tools that allow employees to learn from home.

Meanwhile, Serene Surroundings runs a carefully tracked training system that involves using a software program. Once a worker completes a training skill in the field, a form is issued and maintained in that employee’s file verifying that he or she is qualified to perform that task.

“We offer so many different services that it’s important for us to have very versatile employees,” Lloyd says.

By offering a robust training program, Serene Surroundings raises flexible workers who can manage many different tasks. And, the firm widens its hiring pool because it can develop hard workers into green industry specialists as opposed to only seeking out those with landscaping experience.
 

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