Focus Flash Newsletter – March 2020 Issue

March 9, 2020
By John Zink, Vice President of Development and Communications


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Apprentices at CONNECT

In this issue – Spreading mulch or fixing a leak – we are all looking for the same workers. Here are some tips.

Also – what’s your plan for keeping supplies in stock and people working when virus disruptions are a daily headline?

Our Thanks to
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Top Foundation News
Attracting the Talent: What’s an Industry to Do?   
Last Monday the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sheridan and Board Member Jan Bray were presenters at the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ 2nd Annual Workforce Summit.
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They were asked to present because the landscape industry is no different than ours when it comes to the challenges of recruiting and retaining workers.
There were several common threads among the presenters regarding how various industries are responding to the nationwide workforce shortage. Among these were:
  • The need to create partnerships with local schools and workforce development boards. Start at the middle school level to introduce students to various career opportunities. Don’t wait until high school to get involved.
  • The importance of telling your stories. Everyone loves to talk about what they do. Success breeds success. Give your techs a platform to share why they love their career choice.
  • Successful companies are “hiring for fit” and then providing training through apprenticeship. Companies need to have a strategy in place to successfully recruit and retain women and returning veterans.
  • The striving to be an employer of choice – doing things to make your company a place where everyone loves to come to work.
The only way we will solve this crisis is through communication and collaboration. If we are all competing for the same shrinking pool of workers, we need to make our industry stand out.
Hit the button below for key takeaways from the conference. Some are focused on the landscape industry, but many will apply to your business as well. 
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Is Your Company Virus-Proof? 

The COVID-19 virus has caused major shutdowns in production across China. While some factories are reopening and production resuming, the ripple effect of this disruption is now making its way through the rest of the world.

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Getting prepared now for supply disruptions is a smart move. Beyond the the dust masks and other PPE gear that are in short supply, take time to think through everything your company needs to install materials or service your customers.

What is on your technician’s trucks that comes from China? Components, HVAC circuit boards, tools – what might you find yourself running short on if your supplier cannot stock more for a couple months or longer?

Keep an eye on the news. If major shutdowns come to the US as well, having a plan and an arrangement with your supplier in advance could ease disruptions and allow you to continue working while others are calling around to find that one part that “nobody seems to have in-stock.”

And don’t forget your people. Working from home in our industry isn’t an option for getting most things built or repaired. Now is the time to think and plan through scenarios to limit exposure opportunities. Equip your people with a plan if an employee begins showing symptoms of illness on a jobsite. Do not wait for someone to ask “So what do we do?” for everyone who thinks they may have been exposed. 

See the article linked below from the Harvard Business Review for more thoughts on preparing your supply chain and the unexpected links between parts of the economy. And please stay safe out there!

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Invest in Your Future Campaign PosterWhatever your political party, please remember to continue supporting our party platform –
Unifying our industry to promote workforce recruitment, education and career development.


How? Just make a contribution. Remember, every dollar receives matching contributions from our friends at InSinkErator and Ferguson.

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Of course if you would like to call with your gift, we are happy to talk! Contact John Zink at (800) 533-7694.
Thank you!

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