PLANET 2010 EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION SURVEY UNDERWAY
INTERIORSCAPERS HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR BY IGCC
EDUCATION IN FOREFRONT OF INTERIOR PLANTSCAPERS’ NEEDS
BIG PROGRESS FOR INTERIORSCAPE INDUSTRY COALITION (IIC)
MEASURING HR PERFORMANCE: IT’S ALL ABOUT METRICS
PLANET 2010 EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION SURVEY UNDERWAY
How does my compensation package stack up against the competition? Am I over- or underpaying my employees? How about my management team? These are some of the questions many green industry employers are asking. These days, most companies are running lean with just enough personnel to get by. Hiring and keeping good employees is essential to the profitability of businesses, and to achieve this goal, employers must consider their overall employee compensation plans — not just their wage scales, but their benefits packages as well.
To help provide you with some answers, PLANET is conducting its 2010 Employee Compensation Report Survey, which will cover compensation and benefit programs in use during 2009 and can be downloaded by clicking here. Note: If you are prompted for a user name and password when you click on this link, simply click “cancel” or click on the “x” to close the box. Either action will open the file. Remember to save it to your desktop.
Analysis of the data gathered by this survey provides information about actual compensation in the green industry for all levels of work, and provides green industry companies with a benchmark for comparing their compensation plans with others in the industry.
A copy of the survey was included with the August mailing of PLANET News. In addition, PLANET has partnered with several state, regional, and national green industry associations to broaden the reach of the survey. As a result, you may receive this survey more than once, but you only need to fill out and return one copy. To ensure the confidentiality of your information PLANET has contracted with the Profit Planning Group to independently conduct this survey.
The value and integrity of this and any survey is directly related to the level of participation, so we urge you to take the time to complete the survey at and return it directly to Profit Planning Group either at the address listed on the survey or by fax [(303) 444-9245] by September 15, 2010.
The final report from this national survey will be published as the 2010 Employee Compensation Report for the Green Industry, slated to debut at PLANET’s Green Industry Conference, October 27–30, 2010, in Louisville, Kentucky.
For more information about the employee compensation survey, please e-mail Sonia Myrick or call (800) 395-2522.
INTERIORSCAPERS HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR BY IGCC
Several months ago, PLANET, Green Plants for Green Buildings, and several other organizations made an attempt to influence the LEED and carbon research data being gathered on a project that the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) was spearheading. Through a call to action sent out by the Interiorscape Industry Coalition members of these organizations flooded the IGCC's office with e-mails and faxes, calling for a mandate for the use of plants in new and existing buildings.
Your response was heard loud and clear! Because of the amount of “commenters” in support of Section 810, Interior Plants & Pollutant Control, the commenters had to be listed at the end of the public comments instead of with each comment; identical individual comments were combined into a single comment. Click here and check out pages 1860 through 1871 of the PDF to read the comments received (Comment #: 8-182) as a result of the call to action.
This week in Chicago, the IGCC is holding public hearings to determine and verify facts. Mike Lewis, Green Plants for Green Buildings representative for the Interiorscape Industry Coalition (IIC), will represent the IIC at the hearing. After waiting 10 hours, Mike Rimland, representing the National Foliage Foundation, Charlie Acevedo, representing Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association, and Mike Lewis were able to present their statements. Their window of time for presenting was miniscule compared to the hundreds of other building trades, but Mike is excited to report they received 10 out of a possible 15 approvals, allowing us to move to Phase 2, which incorporates constructive comments from the review committee. This movement is not a U.S. project, and the fact that we are being asked to represent the industry for the Northern Hemisphere gives us even more clout. Collectively, the IIC and its collaborative partners; Brigham Young University, Green Plants for Green Buildings, OFA — an Association of Horticulture Professionals, Plantscape Industry Alliance, Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), Tropical Plant Industry Exposition, and Landscape Ontario, represent approximately 9,000 companies and 175,000 stakeholders. We are still a long way from gaining acceptance and any mandatory enforcement, and there are tons of questions.
Stay tuned for next month’s full report. Meanwhile, we should celebrate this accomplishment and realize the value of the IIC and of proactive advocacy. Interiorscapers are on the proverbial map!
EDUCATION IN FOREFRONT OF INTERIOR PLANTSCAPERS' NEEDS
PLANET recently surveyed its interior plantscaper members and reported out on the results in the July issue of PLANET News Interior. After reviewing the results, the leaders of the Interior Plantscaping Specialty Group identified key areas where PLANET can add membership value. The biggest opportunity appears to be in the education arena. Although current industry events provide education for interior plantscapers, only 4 percent of the respondents rated these programs as excellent, and nearly half indicated that curriculum was not tailored specifically to companies of their size. More than two-thirds of the respondents indicated they are PLANET members.
"It's apparent that industry members want more educational programs specifically directed toward their companies,” says Chris Raimondi, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, chair of PLANET's Interior Plantscaping Specialty Group. “Hence, one of our immediate goals is to create more targeted educational opportunities for members. PLANET already has a tremendous certification program that is a viable training and educational resource for any size company, and our relationship with the Interior Industry Coalition (IIC) members and academia puts us on the cutting edge of technical and business innovation."
Raimondi notes that educational materials are easily made available through the Internet, webinars, trade shows, and other industry events, as well as the soon-to-be introduced PLANET Universe. The latter will be the ultimate portal and clearinghouse for green industry professionals, including interior plantscapers looking for answers to their horticulture questions.
"The Interior Specialty Group is working hard to create new and exciting educational programs for members," says Raimondi. "The fact that nearly three-quarters of the respondents indicated they would be willing to travel more than 400 miles to an industry-sponsored event is good news for PLANET and its IIC partners that continue to develop resources for the industry."
Committee member Tim Hahn, Interior Department Manager for Wisconsin-based David Frank Landscaping, who agrees that providing educational value is an opportunity for PLANET, identified a few challenges in this area, as well. “Today, there are more groups providing education for our industry than there were 20 years ago. In some ways, that’s good for the industry, but it's also confusing for members and a challenge for PLANET to avoid replicating something that’s already available.
"We have an opportunity to identify and fill gaps within educational programs, all the time working closely with the IIC partners to enhance their educational offerings. I like the idea, for example, of getting back to the basics of helping companies sell their products and services. The same holds true in the area of pricing where survey respondents pointed to 'appropriately pricing work' as one of their most pressing issues. There is also an ongoing need to keep industry members on the cutting edge of LEED certification and the green movement in general."
The other immediate challenge for PLANET is the economy, adds committee member Jazz Dehoff, sales and nursery manager for Triad Plant Co., in Delray Beach, Florida. "Although most companies have stopped laying off employees, the economy is still a concern, and the cost of joining any group has to be balanced against membership value."
As she explains, prior to the recession, it was not uncommon for companies to send all their technicians to an industry event. Now, only the owner and possibly a member of the upper management will likely be in attendance. "Technicians don't get the training they used to receive by going to shows," Dehoff adds, "which opens up a door for PLANET to provide value by offering this training."
She emphasizes that PLANET can take advantage of programs already in existence. The Trailblazers program is a good example, says Dehoff. "Among possibilities, the Interior Plantscaping Specialty Group could videotape Trailblazer-type educational sessions and make them available to PLANET members. Sessions could focus on basic training issues, but there’s also a need for training at all levels."
Like her committee peers, Dehoff sees an opportunity for partnering with other groups to be able to provide a more comprehensive educational offering to the industry. Past PLANET President Jason Cupp, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, agrees. "Bonding together to accomplish a common industry goal is always better than trying it on your own. The LEED initiative, for example, would have been difficult, if not impossible, without the joint effort industry groups put forth through the IIC."
Raimondi points out that the survey is just one way the Interior Plantscaping Specialty Group has been reaching out to the industry to identify ways PLANET can better meet interior plantscaper needs in an ever-changing and challenging market.
BIG PROGRESS FOR INTERIORSCAPE INDUSTRY COALITION (IIC)
The Interiorscape Industry Coalition meeting took place, July 11, 2010, in Columbus, OH. Attendees included Chairman Chris Raimondi, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, of Raimondi Horticultural Group; Jason Cupp, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, of VG Services; Earl Hansen, of Brigham Young University; Linda Reindl, National Foliage Foundation representative; Mike Lewis, Green Plants for Green Buildings representative; Rich Batcho, OFA representative; Sally Harvey, Landscape Ontario representative and Vice Chair of IIC; and Tim Konig, Plantscape Industry Alliance representative. Guest speakers from the OFA were CEO, Michael Geary; OFA President, Danny Takao; and OFA Vice President, Mike McCabe.
The first discussion topic covered the IIC’s mission to provide industry education. It was noted that PLANET’s new Web portal, PLANET Universe, could help propel this mission. The goal of PLANET Universe is to save time and money by providing constantly updated, educational information, and to increase the image of professionalism for the green industry resulting in more highly skilled and professionally certified workers. Content may be submitted from any source, and must address the professional and business needs of green industry members. Through the PLANET Universe Review Board, PLANET will conduct a blind review of all completed submissions, evaluating each on the merits of educational content and timely information. The review board will not be aware of the identity of the submitter until after the completion of the blind review process. Submissions must receive a minimum score of 6.5 on a 10 point scale during the blind review in order to be considered for inclusion on the site. Selected material will receive a link back to its original source, giving the source high visibility and recognition for their contribution.
New outcomes of the meeting included:
- Refinement of the IIC mission statement to read: To increase Interiorscaping industry awareness, raise industry professionalism, and promote inclusion of plants in the interior environment through collaborative efforts of participating not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions.
- Required attendance by at least one representative of each IIC member organization to two consecutive meetings to maintain membership status.
- The election of Sally Harvey, representative for Landscape Ontario, as the first IIC Vice Chair.
- The upcoming EILO -European Interior Landscape Organization's 1st International congress for the Interior Landscaper, held in the Netherlands, November 2. Several members of the IIC plan to attend.
The next meetings for the IIC have tentative dates of January 21 and 22, 2011, and will be held during the Tropical Plant Industry Exposition.
MEASURING HR PERFORMANCE: IT'S ALL ABOUT METRICS
Metrics is the science or practice of applying solid measurable numbers to the most important accountabilities in any given job. For example, in sales, it might be the number of successful sales, the total sales volume or the average percentage of profit per sale. Deciding what to measure is the same for every position. The metrics must be directly tied to the business issues facing the company. This might include cutting costs because of price competition, developing new technology or improving productivity. The metrics used for HR should not just report results, but also show a cause-and-effect relationship (because we did that, this resulted). In addition, the HR professional should use the same language commonly used by the organization's other business leaders. For example, ROI (return on investment) is universally understood in the business world. If you established a training program or invested in the certification of your most important skill sets, will you then be able to prove that this was a good investment? Were you able to do a better quality of work, obtain new customers, reduce call backs or complete more jobs on time? Then measure those results to show the ROI of training and certification.
HR metrics can be used to measure such things as:
- Increased job performance – For example, a new recruiting program resulted in new employees with first year job performance ratings that are 30 percent higher than under the old program.
- ROI – For example, the new commission plan resulted in $100 of increased sales for each additional commission dollar paid.
- The impact of a specific program on revenue
- Decreased costs
A recent report from Business and Legal reports (BLR) suggests the following criteria when choosing what metrics to measure:
- Use data that are readily available and can be gathered at regular intervals.
- Use ratios, formulas, key performance measures and language used by business leaders.
- Include measurements of results and quality. Don't limit the measurements just to costs.
- Use only metrics that can be used to make decisions not to justify activities.
- Keep it simple. Metrics don’t have to be complicated.
- Identify and compare results to key competitors whenever possible.
- Measure ROI, cost/benefit ratios and impact on problems identified by business leaders.
- Avoid soft metrics on feelings or intuition about a program. Use hard metrics or data to drive clear, fact-based decision making.
Metrics for HR
The four most often used metrics measurements for HR are recruiting, employee relations, compensation and training, and certification. There are different data to measure for each.
To read the entire article on measuring HR performance, check out the August issue of Personnel Notebook, in the PLANET Newsletter section of the Member Center when you log in at LandcareNetwork.org.