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“Finding good people is the industry’s number one challenge,” says Tony Bass, former landscape contractor, and founder and owner of Super Lawn Trucks and Tony Bass Consulting. “Many companies, mine included, have relied heavily on the H-2B guest worker program to build a legal workforce. It’s a terrific program, but when the returning workers exemption was not renewed this year, our industry was caught between a rock and a hard place.”
Bass contends that the industry has become complacent about recruiting thanks in large part to the effectiveness of the guest worker program. With the program in doubt, business owners need to re-hone their recruiting tools to be able to survive. Says Bass, “Business owners have to be resourceful and use a multitude of recruiting strategies. They also have to watch their budget and find ways to recruit that won’t break the bank.”
This industry veteran offers several cost-effective tips for
competing in the ever-shrinking labor market. Here are just a
few of them:
Bass, who recently published a book entitled 50 Ways to Find, Recruit, Hire, and Retain Superstar Employees, cites a Department of Labor statistic to put the industry’s labor challenge in perspective. “According to government figures, there are 822 different jobs in America. In terms of average entry-level salaries, our industry ranks number 753 on the list. That means there are only 70
jobs in this country that pay less than we do. We have to be good at recruiting to survive.”
He concludes, “The only way to win the battle for employees is to take advantage of a multitude of strategies all year long. Advertise online, have an ongoing recruiting presence at two- and four-year schools, participate in job fairs, and become resourceful using cost-effective recruiting strategies.”
Published in the August 2008 issue of Planet News
In 2011, Tony partnered with "The World's #1 Small Business Guru" Michael Gerber to write "The E-Myth Landscape Contractor."