Orientation provides the best opportunity to start the employment relationship off on the right foot and to ensure expectations are clear from the beginning, as your new employee will be able to operate safely and quickly contribute to the team which will avoid mistakes.
Spending time with your new employee making sure they understand what is happening, how the farm works, the way you do things and how they fit in means they will get up to speed quicker. This will lead to improved work performance, increased satisfaction and motivation for them and reduced stress for you and the team.
- Orientation starts the day your new employee signs their employment agreement and continues for at least 3 months right up until the end of their first year - when they have experienced everything on farm.
- Keep in touch with your new employee before they start.
- Compile important documents that need to be kept for an employees file.
- Plan an orientation as a priority by identifying key areas that need to be covered to get the new person started. Allow for time and support to be provided to follow through on the process. See key documents below for templates.
- Include key things such as an overview of your business, meeting the team, key areas they are responsible for, explanation of your expectations regarding your farm system, timesheets, house inspection.
- Assess skills of the new employee as you go and create a training plan to bridge any gaps. Set aside time to ensure that this training happens.
- Follow a good orientation process, don't just leave it to chance that everything will get covered. The QuickStart orientation kit can guide you through the process and ensure all key areas such as health and safety, farm policies and procedures, the farm business, completing paperwork, employment terms and conditions, rules and conduct, and position expectations are covered.
- Consider how you can make an employee and their family's transition to a new farm and community run smoothly.
- Remember that orientation is never just a one day process. Aspects of orientation are likely to continue over a whole year as a new employee learns what to do during the seasons.
- Ask a new employee on a regular basis how it is going and allow them time to apply their farm skills to your farm business.
Quick Questions & Answers
How do I set up new staff orientation?
To provide a good orientation you need to be prepared. You need to decide what information your new employee needs to know in order to be able to complete the job successfully and to feel part of the team.
The information required should be compiled into a checklist and given a timeline. For example, first up might be meeting the team and a thorough tour of the farm, creating a training plan might come several weeks into the orientation.
Learn what topics should be discussed during orientation.
Remember that orientation is never just a one day process. Aspects of orientation are likely to continue for weeks, or months.
Getting orientation right is critical to ensuring a successful start for your new employee and any time spent now is likely to be well rewarded, both with gratitude and improved performance.