Where Can Landscape Businesses Find Good Employees?

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It’s no secret that finding good employees is no easy task. In 2013 Forbes.com reported that skilled trades had been the hardest industry to fill employment gaps for the previous three years.

Almost 10 years later, it seems the trend is only getting worse. In 2018 the Associated General Contractors of America found that 70% of contractors had a difficult time finding qualified workers.

While there are many factors influencing this worrying trend, there are some things you can do to make finding and keeping good employees a little easier. We’ll lay out some of the creative ways you can find good employees, and how to keep them once you’ve got them.

Where to look for new employees?

Thanks to the internet and social media, when it comes to finding new employees there are plenty of job board platforms available for business owners looking to find talent. Online job boards liked Indeed and Glassdoor provides potential employees with the opportunity to reach millions of job searchers.

More and more job seekers are turning to websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Indeed to find employment opportunities, and smart business owners are working hard to meet these job searchers online. According to a 2018 “Source of Hire” report by SilkRoad.com, one online job, in particular, stands out for finding applicants. When it comes to hiring online, Indeed.com succeeds in getting more jobs for people than all other online job sites combined. 

Working with 1,000 participating businesses, SilkRoad analyzed the data from more than 13.8 million job applicants and found some interesting stats from the top five online job boards.

Top 5 online job boards by percentage of applications

  • Indeed (66% of total applicants)
  • LinkedIn (24% of total applicants)
  • Glassdoor (5% of total applicants)
  • CareerBuilder (3% of total applicants)
  • HigherEd Jobs (1% of total applicants)

Small, medium and large enterprise businesses use online job boards to find potential employees. While it may seem easy to post resumes on Indeed and let the applications roll in, there are some things to be aware of. While Indeed has more than 200 million website visits per month, there’s a lot of competition on the world’s largest job board.

Some things you should know about Indeed

  • there are more than 100 million resumes posted on Indeed
  • 588 new jobs are added to Indeed every minute
  • While Indeed boasts the majority of online applications, its “Application” to “Hire” conversion is only around 130:1

So, while Indeed (and other online job boards) are amazing at helping you find applicants for jobs, they might not be the best for actually hiring employees. In order to find actual employees, there may be a special weapon you haven’t even thought of: your current employees.

Why should you care about referrals from current employees?

While many businesses know how valuable referrals are for finding new customers, too few business owners use referrals to help grow their employee base. Just like happy customers, happy employees are more likely to refer your business. By offering incentives and bonuses for current employees to refer new employees you can really take a lot of the hard work out of finding new talent. 

According to the Silk Road 2018 Source Of Hire Report, while Indeed’s rate of Applicant to Hire was around 130:1, the rate Applicant to Hire rate for employee referrals was 8:1! 

When it comes to using referrals for finding new employees, besides being the most efficient source of hiring, employee referrals are often faster and less expensive to hire, referred employees tend to onboard faster, and often end up remaining an employee longer too! Let’s look at how you can start getting referrals from your employees.

How to get referrals from your current employees

The first step in getting great referrals is to keep your employees happy. When your current crew is feeling good about the work they do and understand that a business is invested in their success they are much more likely to want to refer great candidates. If you need some tips on how you can keep you crew happy, check out our ultimate checklist for employee happiness.

Along with keeping employees happy, you can do a few other things to help get more great referrals. Let’s take a look at some of the top ones below.  

Tip #1: Talk to your employees about recruiting and referrals

There’s no need to make a secret about your need to grow your workforce. By communicating openly and honestly with your current employees you show them that their input is valuable to the growth and success of your business. This is a great topic to bring up in tailgate talks (for more on how to run amazing tailgate talks, check out this blog here)! To find the best candidates, share a little bit about your expectations for the role and what an ideal candidate would look like. Ask your employees who they think would be a great fit for the business.

Tip #2: Incentivize employee referrals

Providing an extra reason for employees to refer new candidates can go a long way. The best part is, not every incentive needs to be cold hard cash (though, that may help). Find the right incentive that works for your business. Maybe it’s a $10 gift card, a free lunch, or even a leaderboard where other employees can see who the top referrer is. Make sure that your employees know your referral program has an incentive and use your open communication about the referral program to also congratulate those top-performing referrers. 

Tip #3: Train your employees to find great candidates

Sometimes, the only thing getting in the way of great referrals is employees not knowing how to ask. Use your tailgate talks and employee feedback sessions to talk about employee recruiting and referrals (see “Step #1) and provide quick training tips. Help employees understand how to identify potential candidates, how to approach them, and how to connect potential employees to you as the business owner!

When it comes to finding new employees, one of the best ways to find great candidates is to use a secret weapon you already have: your current employees who love working for you and are happy to help grow your business!