How to Find and Retain Employees on a Farm

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The most important asset a farm has isn’t the land or the machinery it uses for work. The main assets to consider and to worry about are the employees making your farm work and you need to treat them as such.

It’s rather difficult to find good employees for farm work and it’s especially hard to hang on to them because young and educated employees are leaving agriculture and finding their way in other industries. A plan to retain these employees should be an integral part of your investment plans.

Clearly defined positions

The first step towards keeping the best employees is to clearly define each of the positions the workers will take. Hiring someone to be the Jack of all trades is the worst thing you can do for both your farm and their career.

The employees want the job to be something more than just a place to get the money needed for day to day expenses. They want a career path and when you provide them with a defined position on the farm they can grow in that field of work and use your farm to expand their knowledge and skill set.

Benefits

It’s not enough to offer the salary that’s competitive and high enough for your employees. It in itself is a difficult thing to do, but it’s still not enough. Instead you’ll need to make sure that you add a set of benefits for your employees.

These are usually in form of pension or other insurances. It’s also possible to let the employees invest with the help of the farm as a whole serving as their infrastructure bases. Many also provide free food and assistance using the produce of the farm itself.

Performance review

It’s important for any company, farm included to provide performance reviews that will let you know how well the employee is doing. It’s imperative that these reviews are publicly announced and that the employees know that they will take place. It’s also important for the review to happen on the regular schedule so that you get better data and the employees have an easier time preparing.

The performance review should go beyond how much the employees makes for you and how productive they are. It needs to go broader and catch how the employee fits in with your team.

Advertise

It often happens that farming jobs aren’t advertised. Instead farms rally on their close circle of confidants and those who are looking for a job in the area. That’s understandable but not very productive. That’s why you should try to go beyond and actually advertise your job offer.

It’s fine to stick to the publications that are only focused on your area and your industry, which is more effective and less expensive. However it’s important that you do it in a public way and by trying to reach as many potential employees as you can, while clearly stating what the job is and how it will be paid.

Look for traits

When you try to find the right employees, it’s important not to focus on the skills you’re looking from them, but to go broader and to focus on the traits the employees should exhibit. Traits are usually something you can’t train people to have while skills are.

It’s also important to note that traits are not something you can easily look for. It’s best to find the employee that might be suited to your needs and try them out until you’re sure that they have what it takes.

Money

In the end, if you want to have the employees that are assets for your company and that bring in profit you need to pay them well and to provide them with a workplace they can enjoy. There are a lot of different facets to this, but money itself shouldn’t be overlooked.

Start by investing what others in your area and in your industry pay their employees and work off from that. It’s important to stay competitive in terms of salary if you want to stay competitive in terms of productivity.

Conclusion

Keeping and finding the employees to work on the farm is no small task. Many would say that there are no more valuable assets to a farm than its employees.  That’s why you need advertise the job and to be sure that you’re describing clearly what the position is and how you plan to pay it. It’s also useful to have a system of benefits beyond the salary itself.

It’s also useful to review the work your employed do on regular bases and to make sure that you’re keeping only those who provide the most to your business. This process should be open and transparent.

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