By Ashley Wojciechowski, People Coach
LandOpt contractors vary in size. Some have as few as 15 employees, while others have more than a hundred on their payroll. No matter the scope of their operations, they all are dealing with hiring and staffing challenges.
That’s why LandOpt’s HR support services are so critical. We help our members become more efficient and profitable, and in no area is that more important right now than in staffing. We supplement our members’ HR teams with the primary goal of shortening the hiring process. As experts in the green industry, LandOpt provides them with a high level of expertise, as well as the “extra hands” needed to fill jobs in today’s competitive marketplace. That gives them more time to devote to other aspects of their businesses.
The nationwide worker shortage is evident in virtually every industry. The U.S. had 11.2 million job openings this summer but only 5.7 million unemployed workers to fill them. To make matters worse for landscape contractors, the number of workers interested in manual labor is declining. A recent CNBC story noted that blue collar and manual labor jobs have historically been filled by workers with less education. Often baby boomers, they are now retiring. Younger workers are more educated and less willing to work in those kinds of jobs. Further compounding the situation, according to the CNBC report, is that the greatest wage growth right now is in blue collar positions
Our members tell us finding managers, especially with green industry experience and the right skills, is equally difficult. We can only hope for some relief next year, but I would not expect it. Some research indicates the labor crisis will peak in early 2023 and continue at high levels throughout the year. As a result, companies are budgeting for the largest pay bumps in 15 years. According to global advisory firm WTW, companies on average are budgeting a 4.1% salary increase for 2023, just above this year’s average 4% increase. The top reasons: the tight labor market and continuing inflation.
Every fall, LandOpt helps its members develop annual financial plans and budgets. We are factoring in these higher labor and benefits costs for 2023, but we also are sharing training and retention strategies to offset them.
The LandOpt HR Solution
Recently, one of our members was in a tough position. He needed to hire an account manager quickly, but he didn’t have the time to run a search. When he reached out to LandOpt, we immediately began to use our resources and skills to identify candidates. We were able to successfully fill the position, and we are now recruiting for another position at the company as well. LandOpt works with members on both strategic and tactical levels. Strategically, we help them define roles and responsibilities within the organization, which is critical to recruiting and retaining the right people. We also provide members with insights on industry pay and benefits trends, including retention and bonus plans.
Tactically, we work hand-in-hand with them to get jobs filled quickly with quality candidates. This includes:
- Writing job descriptions
- Posting positions on all major social media outlets
- Pre-screening candidates, including having them reviewed by a LandOpt Success Coach
- Conducting AVAÒ behavior analysis among candidates
- Submitting candidates to contractors and assisting with interviews
Saving Time and Money
HR support is offered to all network contractors as part of their membership. This includes sourcing candidates and posting positions, both of which can be very time consuming. In addition, each LandOpt member is assigned a Success Coach who supports them in virtually every aspect of their business, including HR. Our coaches first advise contractors on when to add an employee based on their growth. Once they do decide to hire someone, coaches offer advice on topics such as conducting role-play scenarios and follow-up interviews. We also offer optional fee-based recruiting services. Compared to general staffing companies, we are typically more affordable because of our industry connections, as well as our understanding of the jobs that need to be filled.
Replacing workers is an expensive hassle. LandOpt supports its network members with a wide array of training and educational opportunities, as well as materials created to aid retention. Companies often say, “Our people make the difference.” As LandOpt’s People Coach, I could not agree more. In fact, having the right people is one of the reasons LandOpt members’ profitability far outpaces industry averages, even during challenging times.