This article was originally published in Turf Magazine.
As anyone in landscaping knows, finding, hiring, and retaining quality employees are among the biggest challenges in the industry. So when results of a confidential employee survey earned Green Acres Landscape in Salem, OR a designation as one of the ““100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” it was noteworthy. What’s their secret to employee happiness?
The survey, conducted and reported by Oregon Business magazine, measured employees’ opinions on 20 workforce practices including satisfaction, work environment, management and communication, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.
“In this pandemic year, you could argue that the 100 Best Companies list takes on more meaning and importance than ever before,” stated the March 2021 article. “Companies on the list have really had to show their mettle when it comes to maintaining a strong culture and happy workforce while facing extraordinary economic challenges created by the pandemic.”
Landscaping businesses provide more than one million jobs—and the industry has been steadily growing at about 2.5% over the last five years. During the pandemic, Green Acres created a safe environment for employees, while also benefitting from the nature of outdoor work and a clientele that was staying home and thinking more about their yards.
And while hiring and retention is an issue in most industries, Green Acres is fortunate to have a robust and steady workforce that is also very diverse. Green Acres Marketing Director Bonique Hollinrake commented, “A lot of our employees are referred to us by current staff members. That says a lot about a new hire when an employee vouches for them. We also offer on-the-job training and regular educational opportunities. We have a diverse workforce with a strong upward career path. Our partnerships with our vendors allow us to provide specified training that is not available for all contractors.”
Green Acres family-feel and charitable giving were highlighted as reasons the company’s employees want to come to work, according to Oregon Business. One Green Acre employee was cited as saying, “We stand behind important causes continually throughout the year. We are a green company striving to support its goal in our everyday work practices.”
Founded by brothers Rob and Rich Kansky in 1992, Green Acres has grown to over 100 current employees and features a garden center and display floor. Yet even though staff continues to grow, Green Acres Landscape still has a family-business culture, attributed, in part, to community involvement.
The Kansky brothers actively participate in multiple charity organizations, serving on local boards of directors and generously donating their time and dollars to community projects. One initiative they currently support is restoration of Oregon’s Santiam Canyon, an area devastated by wildfires. As part of the part of the Santiam Rebuild Coalition, Green Acres is helping create a new community center, all being built by volunteers, and donating over 150 trees to start replanting the canyon.
Previously, when the Liberty House Child Abuse Assessment Center created a children’s garden, Green Acres came to help by donating over $20,000 worth of plants and labor to build the project.
“The Kanskys have created an atmosphere that helps staff feel included. They work hard to ensure that there are opportunities for professional growth and promotion for staff. Fifteen of our employees have over 10 years of service each. We encourage social opportunities, and the company does a lot of community outreach to support children and families,” commented Hollinrake. “Employees are also proud to work at a place that cares deeply about the environment.”
Besides opportunities to benefit the community, Green Acres also looks for events their employees will enjoy. “Everyone looks forward to company events because the Kanskys make them really special and fun for families,” Hollinrake added. As strong supporters of the Oregon State Fair, Green Acres has treated its staff and their families to a day at the State Fair—rides and all.
As the Oregon Business article stated, “The companies on this year’s list are evidence that there are businesses that care about keeping their workforces happy, whatever the circumstances.”
Vice President Rob Kansky comments, “The support of our employees and vendors, along with our work in the community, continually teach us new and different ways of doing things. Green Acres’ team communication is strong, and we provide solutions and excellent results to our clients.”
Green Acres Landscape is a full-service, residential and commercial landscaping business and nursery in Salem, OR. Their fully appointed showroom includes Green Acres at Home, a decor and gift shop. Green Acres’ projects include designing and installing, maintaining and enhancing, and providing general lawn care. Green Acres has been serving Oregon since 1992 and has grown to over 100 employees and over 5,000 satisfied customers. Their mission is to provide an unequaled landscape solution and value to each client while always respecting and protecting the environment.
The original Oregon Business article can be found here. Other landscaping-related companies which made the list include: Crystal Greens Landscape in Clackamas; Pacific Landscape Management in Hillsboro; and Bartlett Tree Experts also in Clackamas.