The most important aspect of employee retention, and a productive and happy team, is a supportive company culture. A supportive company culture creates an eagerness in employees to take initiative and personal interest in the people with whom they work.

A supportive company culture requires a set of core values that support the employee while still holding them accountable.  The organization must set a tone that allows the employee to know that management and, most importantly, ownership trusts their judgment, but also that the employee’s own judgment must include a robust dose of integrity.

The beauty in this reciprocal effort appears when one team member falls behind and the rest of the team instinctively recognizes this and acts as support.  The whole system maintains its own vitality by calling for accountability amongst all parties, The team develops an all for one and one for all mentality.

Another important aspect to a vibrant, supportive company culture is the opportunity to develop and succeed within the company.  This means not only the possibility for a raise or promotion, but daily education and the opportunity for an employee to demonstrate his or her potential.

Employees who do not care to take advantage of a healthy company culture (with a good set of core values) tend to move on when they don’t carry the same level of enthusiasm as the rest of the group.  I’ve witnessed this myself.  When a group of team members work together symbiotically (think mycorrhiza to the roots of a plant), while another arrives only to collect a paycheck, that individual often simply comes and goes.  This further encourages the most enthusiastic employees to rise to the top.

One of the most important messages where I work is: “We achieve the best results through the combined efforts of each individual.” This statement holds each individual accountable while providing each person with the support of the whole team.  The team acts as one organism, and doesn’t shun one of its members when he or she falters, but helps them get back on their feet.

We achieve the best results through the combined efforts of each individual.

Finally, and most importantly, a supportive company culture exemplifies a consistent level of caring from the top down.   The owners care about their employees, and, in turn, the employees care about the organization as a whole, and especially, its client base.  A real sense of consideration and concern for each individual reflects back on the rest of the organization and its clients. This can’t simply arrive in the form of lip service.  If a company preaches such ideals, but does not deliver on them, the whole initiative is a wasted effort.

How do I know this?  Like you, I have lived it.  I can look back at my career and see organizations that failed to deliver any set of core values at all, and others that ran on them as the company’s lifeblood.  One thing is certain: when we serve each other, we achieve the best results (which drives increased revenue, but that’s another topic), we enjoy our co-workers and we share daily challenges.  What better way to retain good employees than having a solid company culture act as the bedrock for your organization?


This entry will appear in the next Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals newsletter.  Thank you to Carrie Martinfor editing!