Feature Article - July 2011
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Maintenance Series: Grounds

Caring for Growing Places
Grounds—and Their Crews—Require Careful Attention

By Dawn Klingensmith

Employee Retention and Motivation

At Texas Woman's University, Trevino has five crews taking care of 270 acres. Each crew has a primary function—basic maintenance; tending the greenhouse and flowerbeds; irrigation; landscape installation; and maintaining the athletic fields. "I cross-train and try to rotate staff members throughout crews," Trevino said.

That way, they stay engaged and learn new things.

Employee satisfaction and engagement is critical to the success of a grounds maintenance program, Trevino said: "It's important that staff members each have a sense of pride and ownership. That starts by setting clear expectations, and then giving crews a lot of freedom." Trevino performs occasional "spot checks" and points out where improvements could be made, but mistakes are tolerated as part of the learning process and good work also is recognized.

"Communicate with employees and make them feel appreciated," Trevino advised. "They're the ones who make us shine."