Crews at Earth Effects Outdoor Living are fairly tech-forward and have learned to embrace labor management software.
Photo courtesy of Earth Effects Outdoor Living

In today’s world, business owners are looking to technology to solve their everyday problems and help streamline operations.

Nate Moses, CEO of Precision Landscape Management, in Greenville, S.C., says good labor management software can be one of the most essential tools for a landscaping company.

“Like the CRM that you use for your business, it’s very involved and the more involved you are in it, the more you get out of it,” he says. “You have to utilize it almost on a daily basis to get the most out of it.”

Taking the plunge.

Moses admits he didn’t go looking for a labor management software, and it took him awhile to commit to the investment.

“The product came to us. The salesperson who taught us about it is someone we knew from their previous job,” he says. “He knew the business we were in and knew that labor management was a key part of what we do. We did a lot of our own research, too. It was probably three to four months since he first told us about it before we decided to pull the trigger.”

Daniel Henks, owner of the Missouri-based Earth Effects Outdoor Living, was turned on to his software by a local colleague. After getting the referral, Henks says he made sure to test it with a few members of his team before committing to it.

“We started using (the software) three years ago and had used a few basic types of software before but decided through another local company to give it a try,” he says. “I came to love it pretty quick just because of the efficiency and how things tie together from being out in the field and then coming back to the office and it’s all tied in.”

One of the things Moses says he likes most about his software choice is how tech-forward it is.

“It’s a technology company that handles HR and payroll rather than a HR company trying to use technology,” he says. “We feel like it gives us a lot of advantages on the reporting and predicting side that traditional payroll and HR software has not.”

Getting it together.

Moses and Henks both say the process of implementing the new software was time-consuming but well worth it.

“Obviously, there’s a huge learning curve,” Henks says. “I still say I’m not using it to its full potential because there’s so much you can integrate and automate, and I just haven’t had the time to fully use it. But, even at using it to 35 to 50% of its capacity, I still find it to be a huge value.”

Onboarding the new software took Moses’ company about two months to complete.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” he says. “The process for us started with our office manager really spearheading the project. When you’re implementing something new, I think it’s really important that one person owns the project.”

After getting it set up, the next step is introducing it to the masses.

“When we rolled it out to the company, it was a tiered rollout,” Moses says. “There were three or four weeks where we rolled out specific things. And that went very, very well since it was planned intentionally.”

Henks says his software came with a convenient way for his crews to learn it on their own time.

“There were training videos galore, so you could have your staff watch videos on their phones even to see how it works,” he says. “That saved a lot of time.”

And after training the staff, the next step was encouraging employees to utilize it. Henks says he let employees practice using the new technology for a few weeks before they officially went “live” with it. This way they felt more confident using it when the time came.

“The biggest challenges were getting it set up the right way…and then training both the office and guys in the field. There’s different levels in people’s ability when it comes to technology,” Henks says. “Young people gravitate to it really quick and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner, and the older generation says, ‘I don’t want this new thing. And how in the world am I supposed to learn this?’”

When it came to those older employees, Henks says he allowed more time for training and knew some hiccups might occur during the early stages. But, he says they continued working with those employees.

Moses says the software was well received at Precision.

“I’d give the reception an eight out of 10,” he says. “People are typically resistant to change, but there was enough frustration with our previous software that they were a little more open to the change.”

Moses didn’t seek out labor management software, and it took him awhile to commit to the investment, but now it’s an integral part of his business.
Photo courtesy of Precision Landscape Management

Reaping the benefits.

Moses says the advantages of labor management software are endless.

“We’ve been using it now for about six months,” he says. “It’s made our payroll process shorter. It has made reporting for our team members better, and it’s made our team members more involved in the process.”

Communication is always key, and Moses says the software has made it a breeze.

“It allows us to do things like make company announcements and schedule company events,” he says. “Some other features it has is that you can survey your staff on different things…and you can also link it with Indeed and other job-tracking software.”

But Moses says there’s one special feature that really sold him.

“The technology, once you’ve used it for a while, can help predict what employees may not be satisfied in their position based on your turnover trends and other common things,” he says. “It has GPS and looks at where people are driving from, how long they’ve been in the company, how long they’ve been in this role and who their supervisor is. It looks at all these different factors and tries to predict that employee’s long-term success at the company and prompts you to proactively have a chat with that person.”

For Henks, the labor management software is all about saving time.

“It’s a lot more efficient. It takes care of a lot of the things that you’d have to bring paper into the office for and enter,” he says. “I also use it for marketing some and could use that heavier.”

Henks says other perks include a customer portal for online payments and he’s able to keep an eye on crews out in the field.

Embracing the times.

The pair believe that the software, and technology in general, is necessary to keep their companies moving forward.

“Like anything in life, you have to keep up with changes or you get left behind,” Henks says. “One of the reasons I like technology is because I like things to be seamless. I’m not a huge company, there’s 15 of us on average, we don’t have the time to do lots of extra things. Anything I can do to push the processes through faster is important.”

Moses says he recognizes that some may be hesitant of the expense but staying stagnant in business could be even more costly.

“When you’re analyzing software you really have to not think about what the expense is but what additional efficiencies you can get out of your business when you do implement it,” he says.