Sep 21, 2014
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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Writing an Employment Policy

Nov 30, 2010

 From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (11/26/2010)

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An employment policy should clearly define the rules of engagement for a family member who may be interested in working in the family organization. The employment policy should be clear and concise. It should spell out, in specific terms, the conditions in which a person may seek an employment opportunity. All too often, parents are held to unrealistic expectations when it comes to employing family members in a farming operation. 

iStock Farmer and Wheat

We all know that communication is the key to success when dealing with people. Yet oral communication is always subject to individual interpretation. A written employment policy allows everyone in the organization the opportunity to read the specific language and interpret the fairness of the policy. A well-written, judiciously implemented policy will help the entire staff to better understand the family/business connection.


The employment policy should include: 

  • Company management structure
  • Job descriptions including eligibility – skills/abilities/experience/education necessary for a position
  • An explanation of wages/benefits
  • Application/interview process
  • Promotional opportunities and review process
  • Disciplinary action/termination with and without cause
  • Training available and developmental opportunities/expectations


The company employment policy should be adopted and reviewed with each and every family member who may express an interest in working in the family operation.


News & Resources for You

Did you know the Legacy Project now offers a free download of the Legacy Project Workbook?

Now is a good time to hire skilled workers.

When to begin succession planning? Eight questions to consider now.

Sign up for, or learn more about, Legacy Project Workshops in December:

  • Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Dec. 10 in Lansing, Michigan
  • Dec. 16 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

Shawn Vogt Sween - Grand Meadow, MN
Excellent advice. Many families may be reluctant to put these details into writing for fear of hurting someone's feelings or making things feel too impersonal. Getting the details clear before misunderstandings occur, however, is extremely important to the future of a well-run family farming business. In addition to getting the policies on paper, don't forget to sign employment contracts between the owners and employees so that it's clear everyone is operating under an agreed-upon contract.
4:01 PM Dec 7th

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