Chuck Whealton

Chuck Whealton Photo: Ruppert Landscape

How important is it to you that your clients get to know your employees? For Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, it’s so important that the company recently implemented a new detail to its uniform standards — adding nametags for all field personnel in the company’s landscape management division. While the company has always made an effort to connect employees and customers, Chuck Whealton, region manager for the company’s landscape management division, says this takes it a step farther.

“Our two most important values are people and customers so it makes sense that we bring the two together and develop a solid working relationship,” says Whealton. “We want our customers to know that if they have a question or concern they can come to us directly. These nametags are another way of encouraging that kind of direct communication in the field.”

Nametags will be worn in the safety vest pocket and will include the employee’s name, title, and years of service. Whealton says it was important to include that final detail as many of the company’s employees have been with them for a long time.

“We like to say that when we hire, we want to hire for life, so we make it a point to recognize our tenured employees,” Whealton says. “Likewise, our people take pride in their level of experience, so including years of service on our nametags is like a badge of honor. It’s also another way to build confidence with our customers as they can see that we have experienced and knowledgeable individuals working on their properties.”

Implementing the nametags required investing in new vests, since the original safety vests did not feature a nametag pocket. Whealton says that meant replacing more than 800 vests. But that’s something the company does fairly regularly, anyhow, Whealton adds.

“Since the vest is the outermost part of the uniform, and the most frequently soiled and worn, we replace them frequently to keep our folks looking sharp,” he says.

Whealton says that going forward, the nametags will help with the ability to “put a face with a name” which will encourage stronger relationships between employees and customers. While it’s a small change, it’s a differentiator that Whealton believes both customers and employees will appreciate.

“Our people are our best asset and we work hard to show that we are committed to each person’s growth and commitment,” Whealton says. “We hope that this is one more way of showing that we are invested in our people as individuals — not just one in a crowd of many.”

Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.