To owners, managers, supervisors and crew leaders: We need to understand the importance of developing and mentoring the next generation. We need to make our workplaces into educational institutions. We must share information and collaborate to make our places of work not just more productive, but more value driven and purposeful.
Studies show when people feel purpose and love within an organization, retention rates increase by 80%. I don’t think we have an industry problem — I think we have a loving and caring issue from the top down.
Gary Chapman’s familiar “The Five Love Languages” book says each person gives and receives love (or in business, appreciation) differently, most prominently through words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts and physical touch. In my opinion, the first two almost always win — Are my words kind? Am I spending quality time teaching and listening?
Fresh perspective to engagement
Many young adults are choosing lives outside of attending universities. We need to market to those who want to spend the next 30 to 50 years building the best landscapes our country has seen. I believe that today’s generations can become engaged by working with their hands in the outdoors. We need to accept and support the fact that many present and future industry professionals will be more suited for apprenticeship programs and industry certification — education and one-on-one learning focused on trade skills. We can support skilled workers looking to add tremendous value.
Our mindset must change from “hiring qualified individuals” to “leading them to be qualified individuals.” We must learn to keep things positive and active and ask what inspires them.
It may sound crazy, but …
Some of you are probably thinking, “This guy is a quack.” I’m telling you, when we love those we lead, they become engaged, focused and will deliver the customer experience that will keep coming back, making our companies more profitable. Let’s set the bar high. Let your words be kind!
Our future rests upon our ability to connect and engage and expand our influence. Start with those closest to you. Making our workplaces safe and fulfilling will be the deciding factor in growing profitable businesses. We are responsible for the growth of our team – the next generation. Those that learn to love will be the ones that survive and prosper in these ever-changing times. Lead. Love. Learn.
Brent Ayles operates Ayles Natural Landscaping Ltd in Riverview, New Brunswick. Learn more at