No matter how interesting or enjoyable farm works are to a farmer, he cannot perform the whole farm activities alone. He cannot feed the animals, wash the drinkers as well as supply drinking water, clearing pens’ surroundings, vaccinating, picking eggs, financial recording, and all other routine farm operations. This calls for the need of helping hands known as employees.
Normally, there are three rules for hiring farm workers or employee that you need to know. They are;
It is better to employ fewer workers that are ready to work for a longer hours because, the more the workers you have, the more the difficulty in managing them.
Look for team players. You need to employ those who are ready to work as a team, and they are ready to give their maximum support in the business.
Don’t make the mistake of employing individuals with noticeable substance abuse problems. For instance, if you have someone showing up for interview having a beer or marijuana smell, don’t take the risk of relying on such a person.
When you have these rules at the back of your mind, you can move on with the hiring process explained as follows.
1. Figure Out the Position
What is the main work your employees are expected to carry out? Will they be mixing the feed, be in charge of sales, feeding the animals, operating the tractors, or clean the surroundings? All these works requires different various skills. You cannot employ a tractor driver if what you actually need is an accountant or an attendant. It is a waste of both your money and the individuals’ skills.
Start by listing out the minimum requirement for each work position. Do they need a previous experience in a particular field? Do they need to be able to do a particular work at the first time? After these, consider if the position is a full-time, seasonal, or part-time. Now, decide the amount you’re willing to pay your workers and also the benefits they will enjoy. Lastly, list out the daily duties and responsibilities of your prospective employee. When your workers arrive at the farm, what is the first thing you want them to carry out? Although, there are times where responsibilities changes. If you’re employing someone full-time, make effort to write down the responsibilities he or she has to take.
2. Get the Word Out
It’s time to pass the message of what you’re looking for to the world. Make yourself clear when writing your advert. The aim of this is to get enough responses from qualified candidates. Getting many responses will be overwhelming, and the first stage of weeding out people that cannot work is your advertisement.
List out the basic requirements of each position in your advert. This include previous experience, being comfortable with livestock or animals, and ability to cope with occasional farm odours. After, let the job seekers have some idea of what the will be doing.
Once the advert has been clearly written, post on bill boards, social media or pamphlets. Ask your trusted friends, fellow members or community head if they have any recommendations for the respective positions. However, be careful while asking family and friends if they are interested because, it is easier to fire a stranger than a family member or friend when things don’t work out.
3. Time to Interview
With any luck, you will get enough candidates through your ad. Now create a list of those you want to have an interview with and notify them of the date and venue. You need to meet prospective employees in person.
During interview, ask questions such as; what is your past work experience? What kind of farm situations have you handled? What is your favourite part of working on a livestock farms?
You will get reliable candidates after the interview. Tell all the interviewees that you will call them if they have been selected. However, do a second check on the profile of those you think you can get along with. Lastly, call the people you’ve selected and move on to the next stage.
4. Training and Retaining
Livestock farm work is not for weaklings and lazy people, and there are possibilities that employees become overwhelmed by the farm work. Here is where your simplicity and patience are needed. Always have a supervisor or yourself around the new employees especially in the early weeks of their employment. These weeks would not really go well for them. Remember the struggle you faced when learning on the farm. Also know that the way you treat them when they start determines whether they will stay on your farm or not.
Give employees feedback on their work performance and keep the open door policy so that they can relate with you freely. Know that good communication is the key. Therefore, allow them to have a talk with you if there is any problem.
Try also to help your employees learn new skills and things even though they are off their feed. You could encourage task rotation and this will prevent work monotony.
The real fact is that, good employees are difficult to find. Nevertheless, with these tips, you should be able to get the right people to run your farm better than ever before.