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Retaining Quality People

Retaining quality people is about ensuring good and great employees stay in your business because they have interesting and rewarding jobs.

Keeping good existing staff in your business directly affects the profitability of your business. When good staff move on you are hit with costs such as the cost of recruitment, training, time etc, as well as the much bigger indirect costs of mistakes, loss of experience, loss of farm specific knowledge, loss of team morale etc. Holding onto good quality staff is easier than finding replacement good quality staff.

Getting Started

  • Be up-front with your employee about how you value them highly and want them to stay on your farm.
  • Discuss with each of your employees what their goals are and what makes them happy and satisfied at work. The answer might be family time, promotions, owning stock, stability etc.
  • See what opportunities you can provide your employee/s that match what they want or need and deliver on these. Examples might include additional training and responsibilities, adjusting your roster to reduce average hours per week for an employee who values family time, offering calves and free grazing to an employee who wants to build a herd.
  • Be flexible and think about adjusting your employee's terms and conditions and/or tasks and responsibilities. Remember that most people are realistic and although it might not be possible for you to offer a position of farm manager, offering some of the challenges that would be required in such a role might be possible.
  • Communicate regularly with your employee/s and really involve them in the business so they feel ownership. Provide them with the best work/life balance you can. Living with balance is very hard for an employee, and even more so their family, to walk away from.

Remember to...

  • Check how your employee is doing every 3 months (during quarterly performance review). If you really want to keep someone in the business create an open situation where they feel comfortable telling you when they need changes or new opportunities. This way you can be the first to provide this.
  • Ensure your staff are valued and involved every day. Most of this is done simply by treating a person with kindness and respect.
  • Career progression doesn't always mean a new job title, it could be that increasing skill levels is the next step up.

Quick Questions & Answers


You don't need to promote staff in order to retain them.


"We are developing a business model which grows our people. It’s a competitive world out there and we want to secure quality people and retain them.Ian Douglas

Cost Calculator

This turnover calculator will provide you with an overview of the cost of turnover for your staff.