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Amanda’s top ten – Retain – Don’t Retrain

March 23, 2011  By Amanda Ryder

It takes a lot of long training hours to develop a staff member who knows the ins and outs of your garden centre

It takes a lot of long training hours to develop a staff member who knows the ins and outs of your garden centre. Losing an employee can be a devastating blow to a business, and it likely means you’ll have to start all over again from scratch. Here are some tips to help you retain your employee roster.

  1. Keep things fresh – When employees become bored or tired of their job, that’s when they quit. Look at how you can change up positions – are there new tasks or skills you can introduce to the job? Will rotating staff members give everyone a fresh perspective?
  2. Train, train and train some more – In order to grow your staff, you need to provide training. This can’t be a one-off exercise – it needs to happen consistently throughout the year. Training shows your employees you support them and you’re willing to work with each of them so they can become the best possible person for the job.
  3. Provide room to grow – Give staff members something to aspire to. If there’s no chance of ever moving up in the store, your workers can become discouraged. Encourage your employees to take on new skills and further their education – and be willing to accommodate this learning in your garden centre.
  4. Give your staff a voice – Let your workers speak their mind and contribute ideas or suggestions to help you run the business. Show employees you value them and they’ll be more likely to stick around.
  5. Provide perks – Bring in breakfast bagels once a week, set up a staff yoga night or let staff members take home flowers once in a while. Talk to your employees about what little things they’d like and what you can do at work to make their lives easier.
  6. Recognize the small successes – Thank your employees when they do a great job. Be specific and let them know exactly what they did right. Share an employee’s success with everyone when you can – it will give other staff members something to aspire to and make the person who is being recognized feel great.
  7. Treat everyone equally – Don’t favour a particular staff member. Instead, strive to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. If other employees sense unfairness or inequality, it will lead them to look elsewhere.
  8. Be understanding – You can’t expect your staff to go the extra mile for your business if you won’t do the same for them. When a staff member needs time off for a family emergency or makes a special request, help out in any way you can. Be flexible with your schedule to make sure employees can make time for loved ones.
  9. Don’t operate on a motto of “all work, no play” – Develop a work culture that makes employees want to come to work. Let your staff know it’s OK to laugh and have fun as long as the work gets done properly.
  10. Reward when you can – Surprise your employees with little rewards like movie passes, gift cards and or small bonuses when you can. If you do this randomly, it won’t be something your staff will come to expect, but they’ll appreciate it when it does happen.


Amanda Ryder is editor of Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery and can be reached at

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