On-boarding Your New Farm Employee
Keeping your farm fully staffed with well-trained workers can make a big difference when it comes to profits and productivity. And if your farm is seeking a new employee, you’ve got a lot to manage. Interviewing and checking references can be time consuming. After you’ve found someone for the open job, it’s important to remember that first impressions are key.
Usually the new hire’s going to decide within the first week whether they’re in for the long haul, or if they’re going to move on. Take a look at these key tips to be sure you’re bringing on new workers so they’ll feel comfortable quickly and want to stay with your operation.
Make Orientation Meaningful
Getting your new hires up to speed on how your farm works can be handled easily by breaking the process up into parts. Start with a meet and greet, a tour, then dive into the details. Here are a few tips for your new hire’s orientation.
Make them feel welcomed. Rather than just meeting your new worker at the start of a busy day, invite them to come in and observe how things work for an hour or two and spend some time to get to know them during the off hours. The payoff can be big. Younger workers respond well to a little one-on-one time with the boss. They’re more inclined to feel you’re looking out for them, plus you want them to feel secure in their new job.
Introduce the staff. Take a walk around your acreage and introduce the new hire to your staff. If time allows, call a quick meeting and bring all or your workers into a common area and greet the new worker. Have your workers talk about what they do now and ask them to spend a moment and tell the story of their first day. They’ll all be able to relate a little better to the new hire and that can translate into a better work ethic in the field.
Make a list of key topics. A great way to know what to include in orientation is to check in with your workers and ask them what they wish they’d been told on their first day. Make that list of go-to items to make your new hire’s on-boarding easier.
On-boarding With Farm Worker Training Materials
Once you’ve had the meet and greet, it’s important that your new hire have a firm grasp both on the layout of your farm and what’s expected. Keep the training process moving smoothly by having a packet of details ready to hand out.
Create a new hire packet. In a file folder, print out your farm’s employee handbook or policies. If you don’t have one, take a look online for examples of farm employee handbooks that you can download and edit to fit your farm’s design. Remember to include information on healthcare benefits along with other details on days off and incentive. New hires like to know that their hard work is going to pay off.
Discuss the lay of the land. Show the new worker the layout of your farm — use a map or an aerial photo — and let them know what happens where. Give them an idea of where they’re going to be working in their first few days. This is also a good time to introduce the new hire to your farm emergency management plan, so they’ll know what to do if the unexpected happens.
Talk safety. Another key point to make early on is to stress the importance of working safely on your farm. Spell out your rules for when and what type of personal protective equipment they’re going to be using. Tell them again that you’re looking out for their safety, first and foremost.
Get down to business. Once your new hire is feeling comfortable, clearly state your expectations. Review the job description and discuss other duties the employee may be required to do. Hand them a hard copy of that description so that they’re able to look at it later.
So there it is. In a short time, you’ve brought on a new hire and made them feel at home. Check in with them from time to time, and iron out any issues. Adding new hires can be a time to review your current on-boarding process and fine-tune it with each new employee. While you’re working on better ways to bring new people on, take a few moments to check in with your American Family Insurance agent and update your policy so your business has the coverage it needs to thrive. You’ll feel great knowing that all you’ve invested — in both time and money — is protected and carefully insured.