The Harvest Group is focused on helping landscape companies “harvest their potential.”  One key driver of that potential is the human resources plan that companies have in place to make them more successful.

Head Harvester Steve Cesare is our point person to help companies improve their human resources programs.  If you have any human resources questions for Steve send him an email or call him on his cell phone at 760-685-3800.

Harvester Steve’s HR series, “The Top 10 Most Serious Human Resources Mistakes That Companies Make” appeared in Lawn & Landscape magazine. The series now appears in podcast form for the on-the-go landscape contractor.

Click Podcast #28 in the sidebar to the right — >
as you follow the outline below

A few handy notes appear below to assist in the process.

The Employee Handbook is a critical tool in communicating policies to employees, specifying benefits programs, and outlining key procedures to ensure legal compliance.

  • First, generic Employee Handbooks are not usually current on all of the local, state, and federal laws that may affect a company’s operation.
  • Second, generic Employee Handbooks presume “one size fits all.” That is like saying that the Valley Crest Employee Handbook is the best fit for Ed’s Landscaping Company with 15 employees. While we certainly know that is not the case; we also know that could severely increase the company’s liability.
  • Third, generic Employee Handbooks don’t maximize the employer’s need for flexibility.  While certain laws are very straightforward, a good Employee Handbook provides an employer with some discretion that can support the company’s best interests.

Best practices from across the landscape industry that will help landscaper contractors improve the quality of their Employee Handbooks.

  • First, all Employee Handbooks should be reviewed by a qualified human resources professional or employment lawyer each year.
  • Second, a company’s Employee Handbook should be revised every year, distributed to every company employee every year, while receiving a signed Handbook Acknowledgment Statement from every employee.
  • Third, independent contractors and employees from temporary staffing agencies must not receive an Employee Handbook.
  • Fourth, Best in Class organizations actually ensure their business practices conform to the content found within their Employee Handbook.
  • Lastly, Best in Class companies review the Employee Handbook thoroughly as part of their New Employee Orientation program to make sure those employees are clear about the company’s expectations.

Cindy Code

is an award-winning journalist who spent 22 years with Lawn & Landscape magazine communicating with contractors nationwide -- both in print and online — to help expand their businesses and to become more profitable. She is an active ambassador for the green industry as a founding member of Project EverGreen and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association and also serves on the PLANET membership committee. As a member of the The Harvest Group, Cindy’s areas of focus will include: marketing and communications, social media, public relations, and research.