Image of a new employee with farm owner walking in a wheat field.

Onboarding Your New Farm Employee

Take a look at these tips to make onboarding farm employees easier. They’ll feel great about the new job, and you’ll find they may work harder, too.

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. After you’ve found someone for the open job and sent an offer letter, it’s time to hit the ground running.

Most new hires know within the first week whether they’re in for the long haul or not. So, take a look at these key tips to be sure your new workers feel safe, productive and engaged during their onboarding experience.

How to Simplify the Onboarding Process

Orientation is a key process for your new employees to feel welcomed and engaged from day one. It’s also important to define expectations and offer details on roles and responsibilities. Streamline your onboarding process with these tips:

Email paperwork in advance

Orienting your new employees on how your farm works can be handled easily by breaking the process into sections. And some of that can happen before they start. Instead of flooding your new employees with cooperative agreement forms and pages to fill out manually, send them via email in advance. After you receive them back, you can print them out and they can sign when they arrive.

Manage new hires with onboarding software

Groups like OnPay and Deputy can streamline your accounting and scheduling process. Many will integrate with W-2s, 1099s for contractors, H2-A laborers forms and other tax documents.

OnPay integrates with Quickbooks and other banking software — plus it acts as a human resource manager by helping ensure that you’re in compliance with state-required new hire reporting mandates. Simplifying your onboarding process has never been easier.

Print out an agenda for day one

A simple list of topics is enough to give your new hire an idea of what to expect. Start with a meet-and-greet and a tour where you review their long-term goals, then dive into your expectations and a build out the job description of the position when you’re out in the field.

Make new hires 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 before they officially start. They’ll be able to spend some time and get a boots-on-the-ground perspective of what’s expected without feeling obligated to dive in and start working.

Introduce the staff

Take a walk around your acreage and introduce the new hire to fellow team members. If time allows, call a quick meeting and bring all your workers into a common area to greet the new worker.

Make a list of key topics

A great way to know what to include in orientation is to ask your employees what they wish they’d been told on their first day. Use those suggestions and create a list of go-to items to make your new hire’s onboarding easier.

Revisit Your 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.

Create a new hire onboarding checklist

Print out your farm’s employee handbook or policies and give a copy to each new employee. If you don’t have one, take a look online for examples and create one to fit your farm’s operations.

Remember to include information on healthcare benefits along with other details on days off and any incentives. 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 using a map or an aerial photo, and let them know what happens where. This is also a perfect time to introduce the new hire to your farm emergency management plan.

Emphasize safety training

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 (PPE) they’re going to be using. Tell them again that you’re looking out for their safety, first and foremost and bake that into your company culture with each employee exchange.

Define your goals for the position

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.

Get the Right Coverage for Your Farm

By fine-tuning your employee onboarding process, you can help to increase employee retention. While you're revisiting your new hire processes, remember to check in with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) 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 your farm business — in both time and money — is well protected and carefully insured.

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