Letters To The Editor: Oct. 2000

To the Editor:
As a design/build landscape contractor, I love your technical articles and equipment photos. As human resources director for a large landscape maintenance contractor, I’ve noticed that some of Lawn & Landscape’s most valuable contributions to the industry have been related to how we care for our employees. Cynthia Greenleaf’s Minding Your Business department titled "A Winning Workplace" (Lawn & Landscape, June 2000, page 39) is a terrific example.

Although recent experience leads me to challenge whether there’s a big difference between the recruiting challenges at large and small businesses, recruiting is about using your existing resources effectively. I strongly agree that we often overlook our most effective recruiting strategy: retention.

I wonder what our retention efforts would look like if we gave our people some of the same attention we give to our customers’ plants. For example, in the landscape there’s a clear distinction between "thrive" and "survive." Field experience teaches us to spot the difference at a glance. We continually strive for healthier, more attractive plants by asking "What more could we be doing?" And we know that no two plants are alike – even similar plants behave differently depending on the microclimate in which they live. Through our sensitivity to seasons and scheduling, we ask, "When is the ideal time for each intervention?"

What would retention look like if we approached caring for our people with the same rigor we bring to plant care? I’m pretty sure the results would take a great deal of pressure off of our recruiting challenges.

Roger Wyer
People and Organizational Development Solutions
Tucson, Arizona

October 2000
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