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Employee strategy impacts farm’s bottom lineEmployee strategy impacts farm’s bottom line

How will your operation recruit, hire and retain employees?

Darren Frye

October 24, 2016

3 Min Read

When it comes to the people on your farm – whether you farm mainly with family members and only a few outside employees, or if you primarily manage non-family employees, one thing is the same: The people involved in the farm are a huge part of the culture that’s created and developed on the farm.

There’s a wide range of approaches in how farm leaders deal with the connection between employees and culture in their operations. Maybe you’ve always been very intentional about who you’ve chosen to bring into your operation, through clear recruiting and hiring processes. Or maybe you didn’t give processes all that much thought, but then your farm started to grow rapidly and you needed to hire the right people quickly.

Being more intentional about your farm’s culture – and, as a major part of that, who you choose to include in that culture – directly impacts your bottom line. With the right employees who understand how they can affect the farm’s success, an operation can achieve higher levels of efficiency, employee commitment and overall success.

Build the strategy

The right employee strategy can be a huge factor in sustaining the right culture on the farm. As you work to get an effective strategy in place, here are a few different aspects to consider.

Recruit. First, think about your farm’s needs. Who are you looking for? Mainly seasonal help or full-time employees? What do they need to be able to do – or learn to do? How will your farm stand out? How will a candidate become attracted to your operation?

The needs of each operation are so different. Plus, your local area may be very unique in terms of the pool of potential employees available. Determine the area businesses you’re primarily competing against for employees – and put together a plan to make your operation competitive within your local area.

Hire. When you’ve found potential candidates, how will you screen them? How will you determine who you’ll interview? How will you conduct the interview? What will you be evaluating and looking for? What types of background checks can you – and should you – run?

Retain. Once you’ve hired the right employees for your operation, what’s your plan to actively manage and keep them engaged? How will you coach and train new employees? How will you know whether they are performing well – or underperforming?

What are some unique traditions in your farm’s culture that you want to make sure continue to be part of the culture? How will new employees come into and become a part of the culture? Will you host staff meetings where current employees can meet new employees?

These are all elements to consider as part of your human resources plan and employee strategy – as you think about the overall culture you want to create and foster on your farm. If you’d like some help thinking through how your operation will recruit, hire and retain employees, you might work with a firm that helps farms with HR and other business issues.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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