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The Garden Depot Case

Essay by   •  February 13, 2013  •  Case Study  •  1,647 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,209 Views

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The Garden Depot is established by a family-owned floral company in Barrie, Ontario. With an increase in sales and profits, the company expanded into floral, gardening, lawn-care products, and the landscaping business. However, the current business-practice of The Garden Depot is negatively impacting the company. The fluctuation in seasonal demands has caused the organization with a shortage of experienced and reliable workers. Further, the business is facing miscommunication between the different departments and it has become extremely difficult for the employees to solve issues with the newly hired family member. Lastly, The Garden Depot is lacking a proper recruitment and training programme.


The Garden Depot does not have a well-defined labour management system, which is a major reason for the company's unsuccessfulness. The labour management system is accountable for the recruitment of employees for the upcoming peak season. The nature of the gardening business makes it complicated to recruit and retain qualified staff. The landscaping division is responsible for designing and installing custom landscaping, including rock walls, gardens, waterfalls, and sprinkler systems. There are twelve division-employed landscapers, of which eleven are part-time summer staff. The division manages to complete approximately fifty landscaping jobs each year, however, this is below the demand. As a result, many contracts that are not completed in the fall season are delayed until the following spring.

The second issue faced by the organization is the lack of proper structure. The company should provide the number of the employment positions and outline each job's description. However, due to the lack of proper structure, the workforce is very inconsistent. Most of the employees in the organization are not recruited and the qualified staff and management are let-go during the winter months. Inconsistent workforce leads an employee to multi- task without knowledge of other designated areas. The current structure of The Garden Depot neither provides a job description or a requirement criterion at the time of employee recruitment. In addition, job responsibilities are not being defined whatsoever in this company.

Another dilemma confronted by The Garden Depot is the recruitment of a specific family member. Mr. Murray King, the business owner, hired his 35 year-old son-in-law Mr. Derek Sinclair, as the new manager of the landscaping division. The recruitment of Mr. Sinclair proved to be unhelpful for the business development. After his employment, Ms. Janice Bowman, the office manager, noted some immediate problems with Mr. Sinclair's integration into his position as well as his management capabilities.


The Garden Depot lacks a well-defined labour management system, leaving the company with an inefficient workforce. The cause of not having an efficient labour force is due to improper recruitment. This expresses the lack of- fit between workers and their tasks. Recruitment of student employees for these tasks has caused inconsistency in the work progress. Since these inexperienced employees join for a short period, they do not perform duties as a permanent employee would. Also, these youth require constant supervision, which is time-consuming in comparison to an experienced employee, who performs his or her task without any supervision.

Due to the nature of the gardening business, the organization suffers during the winter season, where most employees are laid-off or replaced by part-timers to cut costs. This demonstrates the lack of-fit between the company and individuals. This shift causes a lack of proficiency, leading to poor quality and inconsistency. According to statistics, 80% of employees during the offseason are students who leave at the end of the summer to return to school. Only the remaining 20% work full-time for the company. This cycle of employment poses a question on the work quality of The Garden Depot. As stated in the case, job responsibilities are not defined for the staff, which causes confusion about who is to do what and when to execute the task; as a result, leading to the downfall of the organization's performance.

The hiring of the family member is a disadvantage to the organization. Mr. Sinclair, son-in-law of Mr. King, is appointed as the manager of the landscaping division although he is not qualified for that position. This represents the lack-of-fit between workers and their tasks. Mr. Derek's responsibilities include: organizing and deploying landscapers to their job sites, dealing with customers, responding to complaints, invoicing/billing, and travelling to client's homes to quote jobs. Mr. Sinclair is not suitable for this position since his minimal knowledge in landscaping causes difficulties for him to communicate with customers when they call in, leading to him avoiding phone calls. In addition, Sinclair is facing challenges when quoting a job due to his uncertainty about the materials to be used.


The organization should start by re-evaluating the staff and create proper job descriptions. The workforce should be arranged in a manner where an inexperienced employee can work with an experienced employee. Additionally, the business should create a department for each division, particularly for customer service. Lastly, the company should conduct work evaluations of each employee.

Actions and Alternatives

Firstly, The Garden Depot should re-examine the staff and establish appropriate job descriptions. A job description of each employee will allow the company to have a clear outline of the duties and responsibilities, which in return will make the process as efficient as possible. Lastly, all members of the organization will have their specific responsibilities that will lead to an improved company.

Secondly, the business should organize their workforce in a manner that non-experienced employees get a chance to work with experienced employees. This method will allow senior workers to exchange their views based on their experience while newly hired individuals will bring forth their technological knowledge. With this combination of experience and information, the organization will produce a positive outcome.

Furthermore, the company should create departments to handle each division. These departments should be responsible of recruiting individuals to each sector. Also, each unit



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