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Worker Shortages in the Garden Retail Industry

5 months ago by

​The garden retail industry, like many industries, is facing challenges related to worker shortages. But what can be done to combat this? ​

Having a good candidate onboarding process is incredibly important, it is crucial for setting the tone for a positive and productive employee experience. Its importance extends beyond just the first few days of a new employee's tenure - developing a detailed onboarding plan that covers the first few days, weeks, and months of employment is a good idea. This should clearly outline the training, introductions, and milestones that new employees will experience – it’s a great way to show new employees how they will be immersed in the business. Too many businesses expect new employees to slot into a business without a second thought to their development or training.

A business we work quite closely with pairs new employees with an experienced employee who can serve as a mentor or buddy, this person can help answer questions, provide guidance, and facilitate social integration. The feedback we have received from candidates is extremely beneficial and it helps them learn the ropes quicker than if they were left alone to just ‘get on with it’. With the ever-growing battle to get young talent and new graduates into garden retail and showcase our industry to this younger audience, more support could be given and work done within the industry and trade bodies. The implementation of things like management training programmes, internships and graduate schemes which can be marketed to colleges and universities when young people are starting to think about their career paths would be really helpful, along with the education piece about the garden industry and what opportunities there are.

Networking opportunities would be extremely useful for those starting in the industry, but along with these employees need the support from management to attend events if they fall within working hours – within reason of course.

Keeping up…

Since COVID customers have more options to buy plants and gardening products from other retailers, such as supermarkets, online platforms, and discount stores. Consumers were forced to find alternative shopping behaviours whilst confined to their homes. These competitors can offer lower prices, wider selection, and convenience to customers. Over the past few years garden centres have certainly diversified their product offerings to meet the demands of a changing market and have introduced new, trending, or sustainable products to keep up with other retailers. Products within garden centres are now a lot more varied and you can find a larger selection of choices now than compared to three or four years ago. We see this from a recruitment point of view as we recruit for roles such as Home Department Managers and Food Hall Managers now which is a more frequent occurrence compared to a few years ago. Conducting regular market research to stay informed about industry trends, consumer preferences and competitors is key to keeping on top, remaining successful and having a more desirable place to work for potential employees. Garden Centres must differentiate themselves by providing more value-added services, such as expert advice, workshops, and loyalty programs just to name a few. A garden retail group we work closely with has recently implemented loyalty cards and vouchers for customers both of which encourage repeat business. These things don’t just benefit the customer, but give employees more experience, learning opportunities and progression in their roles.

How can we help?

As garden retail recruitment specialists, we have a deep understanding of the garden retail industry, including its unique challenges, trends, and specific skill requirements for certain positions. We can share market insights with garden retail businesses regarding salary trends, competitive hiring landscapes, and talent availability. We get to see both sides, we work with candidates and clients. We conduct thorough screenings and assessments to ensure that candidates possess the necessary skills, experience, and cultural fit for clients. We’re also able to collaborate closely with hiring managers to help with onboarding processes to ensure they’re as smooth as possible. Relaying any feedback from candidates to clients on how they find interview processes too.

We recruit for specialised roles within garden retail such as Plant Area Managers and Horticultural experts, but we also look at all the other functions within garden retail that now exist.

Felicity Mitchell, Ben Woodward & Michail Michailou

Recruitment Consultants for Garden Centres

Get in touch for an informal chat to see how we can help you find your next opportunity and the best people for your business.

01780 480 530