The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Top Producer. It corresponds with the article "Solve the Puzzle." You can find the article in Top Producer’s January 2014 issue.
When looking to hire new employees, farmers should remember:
1. Lay the foundation for good hiring practices, even if you are a family operation. Assess your farm's personnel needs. Write job descriptions for all positions. Include the duties of everyone who contributes to the farm’s labor force.
2. Develop a personnel package before you begin advertising an available position. Customize your personnel package, interview form and application for employment to fit your needs. Think about benefits from both your point of view and your prospective employee’s. Realize that to hire the best applicant, you will have to offer a competitive package. Talk to other farmers and small business owners in the community before deciding on wage scale and fringe benefits for the position.
3. Don’t rush the recruitment process. Word any advertisements you write as concisely as possible to discourage unqualified candidates. Screen candidates before interviewing.
4. Plan and conduct your interviews carefully. Remember the time spent in an interview with a potential employee may be the most important time you ever will spend with them. Be sure to check references.
5. Hire the applicant that best fits the job description. Schedule a time to sign employment agreements, etc., when the verbal job offer is accepted. Once the new employee has confirmed their acceptance of the job, notify the other applicants you interviewed of your decision, but keep their credentials on file.
6. Hire carefully. Good hiring practices prevent future personnel problems.
Once you’ve signed on a new employee, you are ready to begin orientation. Orientation is one of those opportunities that doesn’t have to be time consuming, but it can be a high impact opportunity if you follow through, explains Barb Dartt, GROW Family Business Advisors.
She says you might want to drive around the farm or sit in the office and look at aerial maps and soil maps to see the scope of farm fields. Dartt recommends orientation be done by the leader of the business.
"It makes new hires feel valued," she says. "Orientation is not job training; orientation sets the tone so you’ve got employees who feel cared about and that, they’re in a business that’s dedicated to them being successful."
Then, Dart says you’ve got to grow their capability, which means giving feedback and having scheduled times to connect.