It provides a great opportunity for you to assess your farm goals, what you currently do with your time and what you want to do in the future. It can also determine what your desired workforce is likely to cost you and if this is workable within your farm budget.
- Spend time determining what staff you actually need on farm, ask yourself were you short on employee numbers or skills last season? This means you can recruit for the right roles and increase your chances of getting the right people.
- Brainstorm all the major work that happens (or needs to happen) on your farm and write it up in a list. Include the whole team in this session to ensure all ideas are captured.
- Decide what responsibilities and tasks you want to do yourself as the Farm Owner / Manager. Ensure this workload is realistic and fits with your lifestyle goals. Click here for the Staff Planning Template
- Divide the remainder of the work between other job roles creating detailed job descriptions or review the industry standard job descriptions.
- Consider staff responsibilities.
- Check that all roles have a realistic workload and are achievable within a reasonable number of hours. Offering your employees a good lifestyle will dramatically increase their motivation to work hard on your farm.
- Confirm your budget covers the desired number and roles of employees and the corresponding packages/salaries.
- Make sure you have a farm business plan and set goals.
- Review your workforce plan regularly to ensure your split of current roles and responsibilities are working for you, your business and your team.
Quick Questions & Answers
What is the cost of staff turnover?
Probably a lot more than you expect! This is due to both direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs are things such as: the cost of recruitment, the cost of training a new person and the cost of mistakes made by the new person whilst they are becoming familiar with the business.
Indirect costs are things such as: reduced business performance, increased stress and the effects of reduced job satisfaction whilst remaining staff run an undermanned business or assist with training.
A high value should be placed on retaining quality staff, but simply providing extra wages/salary is unlikely to achieve more than a short time benefit. You need to find out what motivates each individual employee and put a plan in place to help keep them happy.
Calculate the cost of employee turnover to your business.
Get some ideas on how to retain staff.
Learn how to create a career pathway with your employee.
What do I need to know about recruitment?
What do I need to do first?
Make sure your business plan and strategy are up to date. This will encourage you to think about whether you want (or need) your role to change and how this will impact on other members of the team and their positions.
Develop or revise the job description and think about the exact skills and experience you require. Spending time doing this now will save you time during the rest of the recruitment phase.
Advertise your role. Research shows that creating a detailed job advertisement will help attract better and more suitable candidates, so refer to your job and people descriptions to help you. You will also need to decide if you want to accept phone or written applications.
Take a look at the number of places you could advertise your job.
Decide on three or four applicants to interview. The best way to do this is to use a screening process comparing skills, experience, attitude and fit with your farm. Try to remain objective and remember you can always call a person to clarify any information they have included in their CV or application form if you need more detail to make a decision.
Get help with sorting out which applicants to interview.
Notify the applicants you wish to interview and prepare thoroughly for the actual interviews. Decide if you want to conduct a one or two stage interview process, who will be involved in the interviews and where.
Prepare a list of questions and allow time to show applicants around the farm and accommodation as required. Also consider whether a practical assessment is appropriate to the role. This is a great way of showing an applicant’s skill level.
Learn how to interview well and complete practical assessments so you have good information to make a decision with.
Make a decision as to which applicant, if any, is right for your job. The right person for the job might not be the person you like the most or the most experienced; it should be the person who most closely matches your selection criteria. This is also the time to check references and clarify any information you are confused about.
Remember to check references so you have more certainty that you are picking the right person.
Offer your preferred candidate the job. It is standard practice to wait before letting other applicants know, in case your first choice declines.
Ensure you are organised with making a job offer, including an employment agreement with attractive terms and conditions. Being organised now will get your new employment relationship off to a great start.
Allow time for your new employee to review and sign the employment agreement. Now you can start preparing for their start date and orientation. Most new employees are very enthusiastic about starting a new job and you want to ensure this attitude and the momentum you have gained from the recruitment phase is continued. To do this you need to plan how you will transition your new employee into your business to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
Harness your new employee's enthusiasm before orientation.