Upping the Allure

Ellen C. Wells


Special thanks to our sponsor:

It seems as though every retail store I enter has a “Now Hiring!” sign posted in plain sight. And it’s not just for the year-end holiday sales rush, either. The labor market—from retail to registered nursing, from agriculture to aeronautics—is tight and has been so for a good year or more. And, it’s getting tighter.

All this goes to say, it’s an applicant’s market. Hirees are scarce and they have the option of choosing where they’d like to work. Believe me, they’ll kick your tires to determine if your garden center is the right fit for them.

As we prepared for the 2019 Green Profit Wage & Benefit Survey (our tenth!), we were curious how you planned to be attractive to qualified workers. What changes would you make to get them, and more importantly, keep them in your employment? Many of you said you’re offering flexible scheduling and competitive wages and benefits. That’s a good start, for sure. But what more can you do? Some garden retailers are upping their allure by creating fun and satisfying work environments and cultures, cultivating relationships that speak to the ethics of the younger generation and offering skilled and creative on-the-job opportunities.

Here are more alluring ideas from respondents in their own words:

“More flexibility, more money and more authority.”—A retailer from Ontario

“Trying to improve working/environmental conditions.”—A retailer from Wyoming

“Continuing to offer the best customer service and sticking to our focus on organics and sustainable practices. Applicants regularly mention that our mission is what drew them to our store.”—A retailer from Virginia

“Staff training, looking to the future and bring up the next tier.”—A retailer from Illinois

“Good work environment, competitive pay, flexible hours and benefits.”—A retailer from Illinois

“We are a family-run business and we treat our employees like extended family. If we are doing well our employees will know. We cultivate a relationship with each employee.”—A retailer from South Carolina

“Thinking and working ‘younger’!”—A retailer from Arizona

“Training, growth in skills, opportunities, flexible hours, fun environment, creative opportunities.”— A retailer from Ontario

“Increase wages, improve staff facilities, make work fun and satisfying.”—A retailer from Wisconsin GP

Thanks so much to Allison Westbrook and Adriana Heikkila for their hard work collecting and tabulating the data!