President’s Message Spring 2018
As spring approaches the decision has been made to change this newsletter from a quarterly publication to biannual. Believe it or not, it is quite a bit of work to put one of these together and I wonder how many of you have time to read them during the heat of the season. We are now focused on publishing these on March 1, generally before the spring season is too hectic, and October 1, prior to our Fall Lunch and Learn.
In this issue we introduce a new feature called “Customer Profile” in which we take a quick look at how one of our customers got started, grew their business and use their Finn equipment. The introductory company is Zehr’s Flowers and Landscaping from upstate NY, a company owned by a young woman who manages the business and also takes care of a large family. If you would like to have your business featured in a future issue please let me know.
Finding Qualified Help
This time of year I hear from many of you for a variety of reasons but it seems that the common theme is “where can I get good help?” This problem is not unique to the landscape industry and I’m not here to provide the solution, only to report what one of the local companies is doing in this town. If the landscape industry can use bits and pieces, all the better.
Pittsfield, Maine is fortunate to be the home of one of the 100 largest construction companies in the United States, Cianbro. Recently they completed a new state of the art education center in town. Many of their potential employees do not have the necessary skills to meet their demands, so they conduct classes educating potential employees to meet their criteria. During the education period the prospective employees are paid a wage, an investment in the future for Cianbro and an investment in the person, which the candidates appreciate. At the end of the education period the team member is tested; those passing the test are assigned to a probationary position with a raise in pay and those who make it through the probationary period are given a more permanent position.
Building the Future
I know there are many dissimilarities between your company and Cianbro but I believe that some portion of this strategy has to be adaptable to the landscape industry. Maybe several or many landscape companies need to band together to make something like this a reality and a scope of training needs to be defined. How much more valuable to you is a potential employee with some basic skills? How much time and money will you save with a productive employee rather than training during your busy season? How much more can you pay a productive employee rather than a trainee? How many more candidates will enter the landscape industry if the entry wage is higher? In this economic climate it is most important to have an adequate number of employees to build your business rather than let the opportunity pass. How can we afford not to train?