Let’s be honest: recruiting is hard for landscape business owners. Unlike other industries, people with the technical skills and training needed to work in the lawn and landscaping sector are few and far between, and competition to secure those expert hires is notoriously fierce.
It takes hard work, careful marketing, and weeks’ worth of searching through applications to find the right person. And the work doesn’t end there. Before your new hire can become a productive member of your team, they have to be trained according to company protocol.
The onboarding process can be daunting, particularly in the springtime when you’re hiring lots of new people all at once. The idea of taking your highest-paid staff away from their billable work to train new employees seems counter-intuitive, especially when you’re battling a heavy workload. Plus, there’s no guarantee that this time will be put to good use. It can be tempting to take a hands-off approach to orientation – after all, people learn best on the job, right?
Although this way of thinking is understandable, it fails to acknowledge a crucial fact. Engaged, confident staff are what make the difference between an efficient company and a failing one. When your workforce feels under-trained, ignored, or under-valued, the chances are you will notice more mistakes, less co-operation, and poor customer service.
Feeling undervalued is one of the top reasons that people decide to look for a new job, and in a competitive industry like ours, you can be confident they will find one. After all the hard work you put into finding them, it seems crazy to let them slip from your grasp at this early stage!
The good news is that there are ways to give new employees a comprehensive, engaging orientation experience, without spending hours of valuable work time facilitating it. Virtual orientations may be your solution.
What is a virtual orientation?
Put simply, a virtual orientation provides all the practical information a new hire needs in a handy online package. It will likely include practical information, like when paychecks are given, how to access online portals, your attendance policy, and even a brief history of the company and its culture. This is also a great time to explain more about the clients you serve and strategies for getting the most from their time with the company.
Having a digital orientation in place before an influx of new staff means that you save time during your busiest periods, without the worry that your new arrivals are being shortchanged by the onboarding process. Not only will this make your life easier as a manager, but it will help establish a strong sense of trust and alignment from new employees on day one.
Let’s look at how one St. Louis company implemented this.
How Quiet Village transformed the onboarding process with a virtual orientation
To understand more about how the green industry is using technology to streamline the process, I spoke to our friends over at Quiet Village Landscaping.
Company founder Dennis explained that Quiet Village had long struggled with the onboarding process. In early 2020, the company signed up for an online orientation workflow through Keldo Digital, which helped them to create a personalized orientation process. Most new employees go through the process before they even start, so they’re clued up on all the essential points before their first task.
Dennis said: “The workflow allowed us to include a bunch of different elements into our process, including a site map, a guide to our core values, best practices for interacting with customers, a FAQs presentation, and even a staff welcome video so our new recruits aren’t walking into a room full of strangers on their first day.
By using a variety of media and content we have noticed a tangible increase in how engaged new staff members are, leading to a general increase in morale across our entire workforce. As well as understanding the technical and practical aspects of the job, employees who go through virtual orientation also have a better understanding of our company culture, and the shared aims that underpin our mission.”
One of the more ingenious methods of engagement included in the process is the ability to create short quizzes after each segment. This has proven an effective way to make sure people are paying attention as they go through, and helps them retain the information long after they have finished the process. Most people in our industry are outdoor cats, so any extras we can throw in to keep them engaged at a desk is a plus!
Is creating a virtual orientation difficult?
In a word, no. According to Dennis, his onboarding team has been able to create orientation material faster and more effectively since introducing the virtual strategy.
He said: “The platform is incredibly user friendly and doesn’t require any prior coding knowledge or computer experience. It’s also free! We have made multiple changes since our initial launch and have been pleasantly surprised by how adaptable the process is. This means that as we make changes as a company, we can simply add new elements to our orientation. For me, virtual orientation is just another example of how technology can make life easier for green business owners. “
It’s a common misconception that our industry is too “hands-on” to be compatible with tech. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With the right software, lawn and landscaping companies can not only streamline their workflow and improve organization, but also boost customer service, increase accuracy, and save money.
Save time and money with technology
We live in an era where adopting new technology can make or break our businesses, can open new opportunities, or leave us in the lurch. At LandOne, we believe virtual orientations are one of these technologies.
We also understand that standardization and training are key in implementing anything new. As landscapers ourselves, we created LandOne Takeoff to help standardize estimates and takeoffs. With LandOne, you can log in from anywhere, on any device, and get the same estimate results whether you’re a designer, horticulturist, or salesperson.
Take a look at this video to see how it works and start your free trial today.