Industry Association Involvement – Our Rising Tide….TomChilders
Fishing Tackle Retailer columnist Ken Duke ends all his columns with “A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide. And I mean it, too. If we can find ways to grow our individual corners of the fishing industry we all benefit, and where that means working together we should be looking for ways to do exactly that.” While Ken’s virtuous message is intended for an audience that is made up of your local bait and tackle shop, it certainly applies to all industries…especially ours.
So exactly how do we grow our individual corners and where do we work together to do this? One of the best places to start is by getting involved in one of the many great trade associations of the green industry. Many of these associations offer outstanding educational opportunities (technical and business), advocacy and government affairs support, networking opportunities, and more. Some even offer certifications that are now being recognized for professional credentialing needs.
As for the education and knowledge element, improved knowledge is the best way to add more value to each and every job we do and improve our businesses. As we add more value individually, the value of our industry improves. Today more than ever, we need to show people the value we bring to the table. The opportunities are real, and so are our challenges, but together we can raise the tide.
The need to invest in education and training extends to our employees as well. These association programs are ideally suited for employee training and development. Most of them are tiered programs that start at a technician level and progress through manager or other professional designation. They are turn key, well done (by real experts too), pre-packaged and administered through the association. Lots of upside with very little overhead to the employer. Two really strong offerings are the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Irrigation Association and the prices range from about $150 to $500 with discounts for association members.
Training and development like this is a real win win. You get well trained employees that take pride in what they do and feel valued by the company. The quality of work improves and your brand wins. It can also instill a sense of loyalty and reciprocity within the employee that improves morale and retention (we all know how important employee retention is in today’s market and training and development is an investment in exactly that).
If you would like to learn more about the various trade associations and/or what may exist in or around your area, please feel free to visit the Green Industry Association page. You can see a list of associations and click through to their sites to learn more should you so desire. Also, if we are missing a good one, let us know. We are still building and welcome additions to this list.