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Corn+Soybean Digest

The Road Warrior Of Agriculture

Finding Good People

This year as I conduct ag lender and producer seminars, I’ve started the schools and seminars by asking individuals about their biggest challenges. Yes, weather, oil, energy and global competition frequently top the list. However, one that surfaces time and time again is finding good workers and people.

Yes, some will comment that the Generation Xers and Nexters lack good work ethic. One farmer panelist recently stated that it was difficult to get his college graduate son off the couch before 10 a.m. and he would be glad when his son’s college roommate moved out to go back to school. Others have indicated that in rural areas it’s just difficult to find an individual and spouse who have similar goals and value systems to ensure long term employment.

What’s the cost of a bad hire? In a recent survey of approximately 450 human resource managers, results found the cost often extends beyond salary. It includes training, loss of productivity, recruitment time and money and any severance paid. Surprisingly, 15% stated one year’s salary; 42% two times; however, 43% indicated it was more than three times their annual salary. (USA Today, July 26, Money Section)

There is an old rule of thumb called the 96-4-50 rule. That is 96% of employees perform to meet standards and 4% are constant problems. However, you will spend about 50% of your time with the 4%. It appears the couch-seeking son may fit into that category.

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

My e-mail address is: [email protected]

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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