8 Steps to Find and Hire Farmworkers for the Season
You must get the right people for the job to maintain productivity. Hiring the wrong labor will prove counterproductive and can catalyst many problems.
While finding the right employees has never been an easy task, labor shortages caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic have made it even more challenging to find the workers you need. Since the agricultural sector relies heavily on labor, this shortage of workers could threaten the country’s food supply.
This guide advises you on 8 steps proven to be effective in finding and hiring farmworkers for your upcoming seasonal needs.
Step 1: Assess your Labor Needs
It is easy to think you know what responsibilities your farm positions entail. After all, it is your business.
Taking a moment and having an in-depth look at each position will help you better decide and understand the job's needs.
Start by listing down the responsibilities tied to the position. Secondly, determine if there are duties on the farm that the new employee(s) could handle. It helps you improve your operations and productivity.
Importantly, engage your existing employees to give you a better view of what the job entails. They can point out changes you may have missed. The Ganaz People Management Platform makes it easy to communicate and survey your existing labor force to get the required information.
Step 2: Provide a List of Requirements
Different positions on a farm require different skill sets, and it's important to clearly define those skills before you start the hiring process.
Since you understand what the position requires, you can formulate a list of skills and characteristics for the job. Include what they must have, the basic skills, and other requirements. Be sure to look out for other qualities like leadership and teambuilding skills that will improve their value to your farm.
Finally, evaluate the worker's motivation and goals. Ask questions like where they want to be in a few years and on the basis they want to relate to your business, part-time or full-time.
Step 3: Provide Competitive Pay and Benefits
Paying the correct wages for a job is crucial. Wages are a significant factor in determining whether a prospective employee will choose to join your workforce.
Remaining competitive in the farm job market requires you to research the current wage rates in the industry and try to do a bit better. Remember, the industry minimum wage is a reference point and not usually the best rate. You should account for factors such as the amount of work on your farms and the climatic condition of your region, or if piece rates are a better option.
Set up good hourly wages and provide other benefits and incentives. A good reputation in terms of payment and good working conditions will also incentivize people to look for work on your farm.
Payroll cards - especially those designed for agriculture - are another benefit that can make you an attractive employer. Not only do they save you the cost of printing checks and reconciling payroll, but they offer farmworkers instant access to their pay.
Step 4: Plan for Demand Beforehand
The agriculture business faces different challenges throughout the year. There could be influxes in orders, changes in amounts, and an abrupt need for farmworkers. All these bring about an impromptu need for employees.
Planning for future demand is an almost sure way of getting the best for your farm. It provides you with time to evaluate the workers and create a better list of achievable requirements. It helps you avoid grappling for workers at the last minute.
Developing a labor plan could help you identify recruitment opportunities to help satisfy demand. Ganaz HR onboarding module can save you 72% of the time spent filling out physical paperwork.
Step 5: Advertise the Job
People need to know about your vacant position. There are numerous ways to advertise.
Start with an attractive job description, then find the best means of getting your advertisement seen.
Here, your best salespeople are your current employees. They are best placed to know people interested in the position and get the word out to potential candidates cost-free. With the Ganaz Communication Module, you can send a text message to current and past employees letting them know of open positions, when, and where they can apply.
You should also post your ad on relevant platforms to target the correct people to cut the costs of reaching out to the wrong audience. Look for online marketplaces for ag workers in your area for free or paid advertising.
We also recommend using social media sites that let you have targeted advertising with a budget. You can also use adverts on local newspapers, radios and television networks.
Step 6: Be Willing to Teach and Develop
When searching for a worker, you may come across someone with the correct attitude, ethics, and competency but without the skills or experience. If you have a training program in place, you might consider such people for some of your positions, giving you access to a talent pool others may be overlooking.
Before starting the recruitment process, it is good to decide if you have the resources to develop employees. You can utilize our workforce training module to engage the employees with educational and vital material.
Step 7: Consider the H-2A Visa Program
If you are unable to meet your hiring needs with local workers, you could tap into an external labor force under the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program providing another source of skilled workforce.
Some H-2A workers have had an incredible experience working on farms at home and in the country before. You can utilize their knowledge and skills during your contract.
Step 8: Have a Good Onboarding Experience
First impressions are important, giving your new workforce the best first day means starting on the right foot. Imagine eliminating for farmworkers the tedious process of handwriting personal information over and over, and over again? This process can also be embarrassing and challenging for some as they may not be able to spell or read according to the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), 4% of farmworkers have not completed any formal schooling and only 37 % have completed grades K to 6.
With software like the Ganaz HR Onboarding module, you don’t have to imagine, it’s possible. Fill out onboarding paperwork without pen or paper in ⅓ of the time and get farmworkers out to fields much quicker.
Getting the right farmworkers is critical to the success of your agribusiness. It takes an experienced labor force to work the equipment, harvest, and manage production on the farm. With such a high demand for workers, hiring can be challenging.
You can set yourself apart by clearly defining the roles, offering competitive pay and benefits, advertising, having a good onboarding experience, offering a development program, or considering the H-2A program, when you do all of this together you have a better chance to find and hire the workforce you need.