April 2012
Seasonally Serious By Pete Mihalek

Make a concerted effort to show a genuine interest in your seasonal staff. After all, they’re the ones who get stuck squeezing trees and a dozen bags of mulch into a subcompact.

We’re right around that time when I write my annual “be kind to your team” column. After all, it’s April and things are about to get crazy…if they aren’t already.

As I get ready for another spring and summer stint in the edibles department at Gethsemane Garden Center, I can’t help but think about the differences between being a full-time garden center employee and a seasonal one.

There’s no doubt your full-time, year-round crew knows the ropes. They know what the priorities are when delivery trucks pull up. They know what busy is. They know how to act busy, too. They know when to have lunch. They know what not to do around the owner. And through the eyes of a seasonal worker, full-timers seem to know everything about anything and everybody who’s anybody.

What do most seasonal employees know? Not so much.

Whether they’re working weekends to get tan and earn a couple extra bucks or just want in on that employee discount to improve their landscape, make sure you’re giving them a chance to develop a bond with your business.

Don’t let “go introduce yourself to the new kid” be the formal orientation. And don’t let “nobody told me” become an answer you’ve learned to deal with each spring.

This time around, make a concerted effort to show a genuine interest in your seasonal staff. After all, they’re the ones who get stuck squeezing trees and a dozen bags of mulch into a subcompact (see photo).

So, show some gratitude, learn names, make sure they’re being useful, and most importantly, make sure they feel like they’re part of your team.

the help

Since we’re on the topic of staff, I’d be remiss if I didn’t urge you to read two well-timed and topical “manager vs. employee” articles in this issue.

On page 12, certified executive coach Rosemary Monahan explains 10 common negative behavior profiles in your workplace and shares five ways to get difficult employees back in a positive direction.

And in this month’s Let Me Explain… on page 54, Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief of Professional Remodeler magazine, explains why the “you should be grateful to have this job” mentality may no longer work in your favor.





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