Growth takes strong roots

Support your employees to expand your business.
green industry employee retention

In Irrigation & Lighting magazine’s recent Industry Outlook Survey, a majority of the participants responded by indicating that 2022 was going to be the year of strong to very strong growth for their green industry company.

If that is true, then what will these companies need to do to make that growth a reality? Just saying it will be a tremendous growth year won’t make it happen.

In some of my previous articles, I have discussed the concept of business paradigms. A business paradigm is the problem-solving system you use to run your business. Each business is a collection of many paradigms. Which paradigms are you using to run your business? Which paradigms will help you expand your business and which ones will prevent you from expanding it?

In 2021, many green industry businesses had trouble hiring enough quality employees. One of my clients was no different. At each of the meetings we had, we discovered a number of concerns.

One of their beliefs was that there were no good employees available to be hired. They believed most potential employees were taking advantage of unemployment benefits. They believed that most potential employees were lazy and did not want to work. It became clear that this kind of thinking was preventing them from doing the things that were going to attract the right kind of people to work for their company.

You might’ve heard the statement, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got.” But truth be known, a more accurate way to word that statement would be, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get less than you always got.”

Times are constantly changing, and if you keep doing the things you have always done, you will be left behind. Many of your competitors are constantly striving to get better. It won’t take long for you to fall far behind your competitors who are moving forward.

Building your team

The best place to begin is with your own team. What are you doing to make sure your present team stays with your company? My colleague Mel Kleiman advocates the use of “stay interviews” as a way to prevent your team from looking for greener pastures. During that stay interview, ask them what they like about your company and what needs to be improved. What do you need to stop doing as a leader? What do you need to start doing?

When you stop to analyze your hiring situation, remember to use the theory of the leaky barrel. Imagine in your mind a large barrel with an open lid. Your goal is to fill this barrel full of water. Unfortunately, the barrel has several holes punched in the sides of it. As you pour water into the barrel, you see some of it spouting out through the holes. You scratch your head and ask yourself, “What was I thinking? How can I expect this barrel to hold all the water I was pouring into it with all of those holes allowing it to escape?”

This is an excellent analogy to help you understand the importance of building an employee retention strategy before you begin to even look for new candidates to fill the jobs within your green industry company. Building an effective employee retention strategy takes time and work. Don’t give the excuse that you don’t have the time to build one. When it comes to improving your company, you don’t have enough time and money not to do the things necessary to improve it.

When it comes to improving your company, you don’t have enough time and money not to do the things necessary to improve it.

Let’s take a look at three areas you need to include. The first is employee engagement. Are your employees and leaders truly engaged in what they do with your company? Do they know what your company stands for, why it does what it does? Do their values align with your company’s mission statement? Do they support the vision of your organization?

How do you find out if your team members are truly engaged? You ask them. Maybe it’s time to change or modify your company’s mission and vision statement. The best way to do that is to get everyone together and reexamine it. Tear it apart and create a new one. Having everyone’s input will help them own and support it.

The second part of building your employee retention strategy in your green industry company is to improve the trust and communication in your organization from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top.

Open and frequent communication in one-on-one situations, as well as in group meetings, is a must. When you have clear and on-going two-way communication, you have more trust and engagement. I advise all of my clients to begin with a Talent Insights Assessment. This scientifically validated instrument measures a person’s driving forces and behaviors.

When everyone in your organization understands the driving forces and behavior style of each other, you are on your way to better teamwork and job performance. With the proper debriefings, this instrument can be one of the best tools in your green industry company’s toolbox for employee retention.

With one of my clients, we had each member of their leadership team complete an assessment with an individual and a group debriefing. As a result, people started to understand each other on a deeper level. Preconceived notions began to disintegrate, barriers were broken down and bridges were built. The result was each member of the team began to truly understand the other members and they started to come together as a well-balanced team.

Sit down with each person on your team and take the time to get to know them.

The last area to help with employee retention is caring for each team member in your green industry company. Sit down with each person on your team and take the time to get to know them. Take a sincere and ongoing interest in them. Find out where they want to be in their career in five or 10 years. How can you support them in reaching their life’s goals? Do you have a valid career ladder for them in your company? Or can the time they are with your company be a solid stepping stone to their next position with another larger company?

What kind of outside training and education do they need to grow and develop? How much of that can you or others in your company provide to help them climb that career ladder?

To help make this last suggestion easy to implement, email me for a free copy of my Employee Professional Training and Development Planning form.

So, is it time to expand your company in 2022? Do you have the right foundation and levels of employee engagement, trust and communication, and care and concern? If you answered no, then get busy improving in those three areas. If you answered yes, then go for it!

Tom Borg is a business consultant who works at the intersection of leadership, communication and culture. As a thought leader, he works with his green industry clients and their leadership teams to help them connect, communicate and work together better without all the drama. To ask him a question please call 734.404.5909, email him at or visit his website at

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