In the landscape industry on-going training has to be the 2nd most inconsistent process in an organization after on-boarding of new team members. How often do we hire someone and throw them into the fire? The answer is more often than you would think.
Employee training and performance improvement training should be one of most important company initiatives after culture development and sales. You see, training your TEAM members at all levels is directly tied to employee performance. Employee performance is tied to service delivery. Service delivery is tied to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is tied to revenue and profit. Your goal is not only to embrace the training process, but make the training more engaging by itself. You want to improve participation, increase learning and retention, and ensure application of the training improves job performance. Increasing engagement does not have to be difficult, all you need to do is make it FUN!
Here are 3 simple, yet fun training examples you can do at anytime:
1- Back-to-Back Drawing – Have a landscape supervisor be paired with a landscape crew member, have each sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper. Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following.
Things to observe:
-How well did the first person describe the shape?
-How well did the second person interpret the instructions?
-Were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process?
Purpose- Builds listening skills, and how people follow directions. Landscape supervisor needs to give direction and crew members need to follow direction.
2- Human Spring- Pair a landscape supervisor with either another supervisor or a crew member standing facing each other. Their elbows should be bent, with their palms facing toward each other. Instruct them to touch their palms together, and gradually start leaning toward each other, so that they eventually hold each other up. Then, instruct everyone to move their feet further and further back, so that they have to depend solely upon their partners to remain standing.
Purpose- This builds trust in each other based on the confidence of the person who is holding the other up. People working together in TEAMS need to be able to trust each other regardless of the situation. Try putting people together who you think might not be as receptive to work together and measure the difference between two people who do work well together. Remember, trust must be present in every organization and most importantly when people work closely together.
3- The Paper Tower
This planning exercise is very simplistic in its approach, but it teaches participants the importance of planning, timing, and thinking on their feet. Each participant is given a single sheet of paper and told that it’s absolutely necessary that they construct the tallest free-standing structure in just five minutes using no other materials. After the five minutes and a review of the structures, a discussion can be had concerning who planned out their structure, who ran out of time, and what could be done differently next time.
Purpose- Team members are required to think on their feet at all times. Everything a crew leader does has to do with planning how to perform the job, managing time to get the job done and the ability to make decisions on there own in the best interest of the company and most importantly the client.
Try, all or one of these at your next TEAM meeting. Measure the involvement and what you observe. You will find the results interesting and I guarantee you everyone will be laughing! Remember….what TEAM stands for ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’
Looking for a good book on the subject, suggested reading;
- The Visionary Leader: How to inspire success from the top down.
- Susan Bagyura (Author), Michael E. Gerber (Foreword), Fiona Dempsey (Illustrator)