Keep Top Lawn Care Employees in a Labor Shortage

Published on December 2, 2021

While losing top lawn care employees is inevitable, it’s particularly harmful to the business during a labor shortage when it’s more difficult to replace them. However, there are ways to keep these amazing employees from leaving.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best ways leading businesses are keeping their lawn care employees from leaving during a labor shortage with:

  • A competition wage
  • Unique benefits and perks
  • A healthy company culture
  • Adequate tools provided to succeed
  • Feedback from your best employees

Plus, you’ll discover some of the simplest ways to begin incorporating these winning strategies today.

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1. Offer a Competitive Wage

Unfortunately, in a hiring crisis, your lawn care employees have the upperhand when it comes to wage.

After all, when lawn care professionals are a scarce resource, businesses will offer large sums of cash in an attempt to poach your best employees.

Since labor shortages mean there are more jobs available than labor to fill those jobs, all lawn care employees have their pick of jobs.

Which means, your job is to make them want to pick your business over the competition.

Keep in mind, even if you currently have amazing employees, you still need to do everything possible to keep them happy so they won’t leave.

Speaking of which, did you know 36% of American workers have quit their jobs to pursue a higher salary at a new company?

In other words, one of the best ways to keep your top talent happy is by offering a competitive wage.

In turn, great employees won’t be as likely to leave for the competition if they’re satisfied with their wage.

Use these factors to determine how much to pay:

  • Location
    • Different parts of the country pay higher or lower wages based on local costs (e.g. cost of living, taxes, etc.).
  • Market
    • When unemployment is low or there is a labor shortage, you’ll likely need to pay more.
  • Competition
    • To keep great employees, you’ll need to maintain a competitive salary based on your area.

Also, it’s important to consider these factors when setting individual employee wages:

  • Experience
  • Client satisfaction
  • Performance (e.g. amount of callbacks)
  • Attitude, work ethic, morals, and loyalty
  • Employee’s ability work well with the team

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2. Provide Adequate Benefits

In addition to offering a competitive wage, it’s also essential to provide adequate employee benefits.

Oftentimes, you’ll hear lawn care business owners say they can’t afford to offer adequate benefits. However, in a labor shortage, you can’t afford to not offer benefits as an incentive.

Plus, benefits are sometimes even more valuable to the employee than a competitive wage.

One of the most important benefits to offer is PTO (i.e. paid time off, paid vacation, paid sick time, etc.). In fact, about 1 in 4 American workers say they’d take a pay cut to get more time off.

Plus, 41% of American workers have quit their jobs due to inadequate proper work-life balance.

Which means, it’s important your company benefits reflect your commitment to this balance.

In addition, research suggests employees are happier and perform their jobs better when given proper work-life balance.

Additional Benefits to Consider

Take a look at a few additional benefits you can offer to lawn care employees:

Health Insurance

While it may not be legally required for your business (e.g. only required if you have 50 employees or more), health insurance is an important perk that makes your business stand out from the rest.

Even if the business doesn’t have the budget to pay for the majority of the cost, whatever contribution you can spare is important to your team.

Life Insurance

Providing your team and their families with the simple peace-of-mind life insurance offers is an important benefit.

Plus, basic life insurance policies are typically affordable and provide a nice added benefit to employees.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is an optional, yet excellent benefit some businesses choose to offer their team.

Since dental insurance isn’t as widely provided, it’s a great way to stand apart from the competition.

Retirement Accounts

Even small employer contributions to retirement accounts won’t go unnoticed by employees.

FSAs or HSAs

FSAs (i.e. flexible spending accounts) and/or HSAs (i.e. health savings accounts) are typically offered with most health insurance plans.

However, if the budget allows, even small employer contributions are a nice benefit to make your business stand out from the competition.

Paid Holidays

On the days where you’re closed for business, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, paid holidays are a great benefit.

Paid Medical Leave

If you have 50 employees or more, then medical leave is nonoptional under the FMLA (i.e. Family Medical Leave Act). Although, it doesn’t have to be paid.

Regardless of whether you are or aren’t required to offer medical leave, paid medical leave (even if it’s partial pay) is a wonderful benefit to offer employees.

Flexible Schedules

In order to allow their team to have more flexible schedules, some lawn care businesses give employees the option to work longer hours during the week in order to get an extra day off.

In fact, many businesses that have instituted this policy have actually seen an increase in productivity and work quality because their employees are happier.

Education Assistance

Especially in instances where an employee wants to get a certification to expand their abilities in the lawn care, landscaping, or pest control industry, many businesses opt to assist in paying for education expenses after a certain period of employment.

Keep in mind, these are just the beginning of benefits you can offer your lawn care employees.

Additional benefits, such as vision insurance, long term disability, short term disability, etc., are even more inclusive benefits you can offer as your business budget allows.

3. Cultivate a Healthy Company Culture

Company culture essentially refers to your business’ personality, and it refers to the way you and your team think, say, act, and work.

A healthy company culture is one where employees are encouraged to understand the company’s mission and vision.

Ideally, your company’s values and goals are ingrained in your team’s everyday tasks.

A great way to cultivate a health company culture is by prioritizing trust, teamwork, and employee feedback.

Additionally, employees who feel valued and appreciated by their employers are 87% less likely to leave their position.

Here’s a quick look inside some of the top ways you can cultivate a health company culture:

  • Focus on being transparent
  • Always protect your employees
  • Institute a high-performance learning culture
  • Offer timely, constructive feedback to employees
  • Consistently reassess your core company values and goals
  • Promote diversity and inclusion into all facets of the company
  • Recognize your team’s contributions and incorporate positive reinforcement

Remember, it’s never too late to improve and implement new company culture initiatives.

Also, offering unique perks employees can’t get elsewhere is a great way to reinforce your health company culture. However, unique perks alone don’t create a strong company culture.

Keep in mind, it is still important to consistently reassess core company values and goals to ensure everything is remaining aligned.

Take a look at some of the unique perks you can offer lawn care employees:

  • Gift cards
  • Giveaways
  • Company coolers
  • Breakroom snacks
  • Employee of the month nominations
  • Company events (e.g. cookouts, parties, etc.)
  • Employee incentive program (make it simple and public)

Whether you have a larger or smaller budget for offering perks, even the smallest of perks hold great value for your lawn care employees.

After all, perks are a great way to prove to your team that you acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to the business.

4. Give Your Team the Tools Needed to Succeed

Having all of the money, benefits, and perks in the world means nothing if your team doesn’t have the tools needed to succeed.

Remember, your team can’t give you their best performance if they’re not provided with the right tools.

Here are a few examples of basic tools to provide for your team:

When your team is given the tools they need to succeed, they’re happier, their performance is optimal, and clients are happier with their services too.

Plus, when employees are satisfied with their job and feel more pride in their work, they are less likely to leave your business.

Never underestimate the value of spending adequate time and money offering the right tools for your team.

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5. Get Feedback from Your Leading Talent

As always, it’s essential to get feedback from your leading talent.

A great way to acquire this feedback is by emailing an anonymous survey to employees asking questions about topics like:

  • How would you rate your overall job satisfaction?
    • Why?
  • Within the past year, have you thought about leaving the company?
    • If so, what would convince you to stay?
  • Do you believe you’re provided a fair wage for the job you perform?
    • If not, what do you believe would be fair?
  • What are some of your favorite company benefits (e.g. health insurance, retirement plan, etc.) we offer?
    • Which company benefits do you wish we’d provide?
  • What are some of your favorite company perks (e.g. breakroom snacks, company events, etc.) we offer?
    • Which company perks do you wish we’d provide?
  • Are you given all of the necessary tools and resources to optimally perform your job?
    • If not, what additional tools and resources do you need to optimally perform your job?
  • If you could pick three words to describe our company culture, what would those be?
  • Do you believe our company mission and vision are clear?
    • How can we improve?
  • How would you rate our company culture?
    • What are some ways we can cultivate a healthier company culture?

Questions like the ones above are just the beginning of the type of feedback you should consistently seek from your lawn care employees.

Remember, in order to receive the most honest feedback, it’s important to keep the employee survey 100% anonymous.

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Stop Losing Your Best Lawn Care Employees During a Labor Shortage

Even though losing lawn care employees is inevitable, these winning strategies will help you to keep top talent happy in your business.

Plus, when you invest into keeping your best employees are happy, you won’t have to bother with:

  • Spending weeks (or even months) interviewing new candidates
  • Pouring large sums of money into finding and training new talent
  • Allocating valuable time and remaining resources into training new employees

Finally, you know how to stop losing your best lawn care employees during a labor shortage. Start implementing these simple strategies today!


Related: The Top 5 Ways to Survive a Lawn Care Hiring Crisis


Originally published Dec 2, 2021 7:00 AM

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Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa is a Content Marketing Specialist II at Service Autopilot. Her bookworming began after she discovered the Harry Potter series. Her love of books evolved into writing and creating content. When she's not writing, you can find her watching a new sci-fi series or shoving her nose into a book.
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