Conducting Training for Landscaping Crews

How to conduct training for landscaping crews, including company culture integration and how to plan an engaging day of learning that sticks.

In part one of this article, we talked through developing a training program for landscapers, which covered things like how to lighten the load for your staff conducting the training, topics to cover in training, and hiring for culture fit vs. technical skills. In part two, we’re looking at best practices for conducting the actual training that you previously planned.

Planning and Organization Matters

“Training days can be highly effective ways of onboarding multiple team members at one time, but strong planning and preparation is the key to success,” said Katie Magoon (of People Solutions Center). “These events are the key to a great employee experience, so being organized matters.”

That’s why part one was dedicated to planning the training and materials—because the presentation and delivery of your training matters. It’s one of your earliest opportunities to make a great impression on new hires, reinforcing that they made the right decision to join your team.

“Pre-planning and a smaller group environment are key elements of successful training days,” said Robert Clinkenbeard (of Wilson360). “Too many times I have seen training prepared last minute and pieced together poorly. Employees see right through that and get frustrated, which results in poor engagement or lack of effectiveness.”

Levi Jett (of Jett Facility Consultants LLC) echoed Robert, saying that “Training workshops can be so valuable, but if not done properly, they'll be viewed as a huge waste of time.”

Include the Company Culture, Mission & Values

In addition to all the required technical and process training, Katie Magoon points out that training should also lay the foundation for building strong personal relationships, as well as introducing the company culture, mission, and values.

Additionally, Phil Harwood (of suggests reinforcing company values throughout the training day by providing examples of how someone on the team lived out the company purpose or a specific value.

Make It Relevant

“Events such as these don't happen once a week, or even once a month, so the curriculum should not be ordinary either,” said Levi Jett. “Whether you take this time to deep dive into a subject or broach new subjects, this time shouldn't be used to review everyday items.”

Lauren Howell (Of Harvest Group Landscape Consulting) suggests involving experienced team members who will be comfortable speaking up and sharing their knowledge.

“Having them lead some of the topics is a great chance to compliment their knowledge while showing examples for the newest employees of how learning leads to career advancement.”

Make It Fun

And not half-hearted fun, either. You could plan some team building activities, but Levi Jett suggests following up training day with something like a nice team dinner, a golf outing, or a family night.

“Give team members something to look forward to,” he said. “Especially if your training event happens on the weekend.”

Levi also says that if you are bringing in team members who may not get to regularly socialize with one another, you must expect that they will want to talk and catch up.

“This builds team morale, so schedule your event to accommodate networking.”

Make It Multi-Faceted

Michael Maggiotto Jr. (of  BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group) points out that it’s likely you have different generations and learning styles on your teams, so it’s important to use different methods of teaching (e.g. appealing both to visual learners and hands-on learners).

Give Breaks

A concentrated day of training presents a lot of information over a short amount of time. Levi Jett says it’s important to give breaks—and more than just 10 minutes here and there.

“Employees' eyes start to glaze over and before you know it, they've reached the maximum amount of information absorbed,” he said. “They need time to process the information, and longer breaks give them time to think and develop questions before moving on to the next topic.”

If you’re conducting training during business hours on a work day, Levi also recommends setting aside time for employees to respond to any customer calls, emails or texts.

“If a business contact is blowing you up, it's hard to focus on training,” he said.

Ask For Feedback When It’s Over + Keep Training

“After training is over, get input from the team members about what else they'd like to learn,” said Lauren Howell. “Ask crew leaders and account or project managers about what topics their team members could use more training on.”

Then, Lauren suggests using that employee feedback to find outside presenters from vendor companies, insurance or safety consultants, and professional organizations to speak at your next big training day. Bringing in new voices for training in a wide range of topics is one of the best ways to keep it interesting and engaging, instead of boring and mundane.

Effective training for landscaping crews hinges on meticulous planning, incorporation of company values, an engaging format and content, and catering to diverse learning styles. With these goals in mind, your training sessions will not only educate, but also inspire and empower your teams for ongoing success in their work.


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