7 top tips for attracting the right staff to your farm

Do you struggle to attract the right people to your farm? If so, it might be time to look at your farm through the eyes of potential candidates.

People consultant Paul Harris from Real Success outlines his seven top tips for attracting the best candidates for your farm.

1. Reputation: Bad news spreads fast, so how you lose people from your business is just as important as how you recruit them.

What is your reputation? Are you known as a farm that hires and fires staff? Or one that retains and develops its people?

Be a farm that others talk about positively, as the top people in the industry always check out your reputation through their networks.

2. Online presence: The top performers in the industry are internet savvy.

They will check you out online, and if all they can find about you is a directory listing when another farm has a small website, a Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter activity, you’ll potentially miss out.

Some attractive pictures of your farm, your team and your animals can help attract the best candidates.

3. Good advertising: The quality of your job advert will hugely influence the quantity and quality of potential recruits.

It’s your chance to sell your business – so be proud of your farm. Use pictures if you can and remember to include details of the housing and local facilities, schools and travel links.

4. Awards: You may be sceptical about entering awards competitions but if you’ve won them, you’ll be the farm of choice for some people. It shows that your business is one of the best in the industry and gets you great publicity.

5. First impressions: Do you have rusting machinery and tools lying around the farm? What is your housing like? Do you have a clean (and working) toilet and a warm place for your staff to rest?

The first impression you give during an interview will hugely influence how your business is judged.

So, remember – if you wouldn’t expect your own family to live and work in the conditions on your farm, then don’t expect the best staff to do so.

6. Salary: For many, money isn’t the most important aspect when deciding where to work, but if you want the best people, you must be competitive. But also think about working hours, time off and potential bonuses or profit shares.

There are many ways to incentivise staff so ask at the interview which factors are the most important to your candidate.

7. Training and development: Be clear on how you invest in and develop your staff. Do you encourage time off farm in discussion groups? Will they be able to work with external consultants, vets and advisers?

The best people want to grow, so show them how your business will develop their skills and careers.

5 things to include in your advert

1. A recognisable job title (for search purposes)

2. Details of the farm using the three Ss: 

  • Size and make up of herd, including breed
  • System – grazing or intensive and milking routines
  • Situation – why the role is vacant (new role due to expansion, family changes etc) and what’s happening on the farm (recent investments etc)

3. Location (county and nearest town)

4. Accommodation details including location (on farm or off farm, distance from local amenities etc)

5. Your points of difference – sell your business

Note: You do not have to include salary details.

Staffing consultant Paul Harris

Paul Harris is the managing director of Real Success– a people consultancy that helps the agricultural sector to improve staff management. 

A regular speaker at industry events, Paul is widely recognised as a thought leader and positive advocate of staff development in the agricultural sector.  

Over the coming issues of Dairy Update, Mr Harris will be providing readers with his top tips on how to better recruit, align and lead their staff. If you have any burning issues you would like Mr Harris to cover then email rhian.price@proagrica.com