Widen the pool

The 2020 Workforce Summit aims to help the industry find new avenues to fill the labor void.

Industry professionals will connect to discuss solutions for the current labor crisis.
Photo courtesy of NALP

With a workforce crisis in the green industry continuing to stunt companies’ growth, the National Association of Landscape Professionals Workforce Summit aims to provide a space for industry professionals to discuss possible solutions.

“The workforce shortage is the most pressing issue for landscape contractors,” says NALP CEO, Britt Wood. “The Workforce Summit is quickly becoming nexus for new ideas in tackling the problem.”

The two day-event features topics ranging from what other industries are doing to find labor solutions, to appealing to a diverse workforce and many others. There will also be breakfast and roundtable discussions about working with local schools, effective messaging about the industry, interviewing and hiring practices, and many other topics.

The keynote session, which you can read more about starting on page 48, will be given by speaker, author and former landscaper Eric Chester.

Chester will share findings from his research on where today’s most innovative companies are finding seasonal and entry-level employees for non-glamorous jobs and what they are doing to retain unskilled workers.

“Today's emerging workforce is a symphony of people from different ages and ethnic groups and genders and backgrounds and attitudes and beliefs,” Chester says.

Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia, and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, have been invited to offer insight into what employers need to be doing to navigate today’s challenging labor market.

Here are a few more sessions taking place at the event.

• Brigitte Orrick, Davey Tree, and Mark Hopkins, LandCare: Success Stories: How Contractors are Spurring Educators to Promote the Profession. Companies across the industry are beginning to open doors in their local communities with educators – driving interest in the profession and creating effective partnerships between schools, students, and industry. Learn what’s been impactful by those who are doing it right to learn how to create meaningful change for the profession in your town.

• Tyler Bloom, Sparrows Point Country Club: Tactical Teachings for Hiring Today’s Young People. Like it or not, you may need to accept helicopter-parenting and win-over a teen’s parents and grandparents in the hiring process. You may need to ask what pronouns a teen would prefer to use. Your responsiveness to resume submissions may need to be more like attracting a customer than an employee, with digital and timely responsiveness, 24/7.

Hiring needs to be done differently today than it was done a generation or two ago – or even a year or two ago. This session will offer insight into what young people demand from today’s recruitment process and explore how current practices may need to change to attract the best and the brightest.

• Sarah Anderson, American Forests: Creating a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion. This session, which you can read more about on page 52, is based on NALP’s new Diversity and Inclusion program and will provide the framework and lenses for looking at your company differently to attract and retain communities of people currently under-represented.

The session will navigate difficult discussions including what systemic changes need to be made to attract women to entry level field positions and executive roles, and how to attract a workforce that more closely resembles society. Through facts, stats, testimonials and best practice examples Anderson will explore the benefits of breaking down existing barriers that may restrict the ability to attract the best and brightest to the field.

Visit bit.ly/nalpworkforce to register for the event.

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February 2020
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