The beginning of the year is always a stressful time in our world. As the crops begin to wake from winter, farms around the state will be ramping up production, and to most of us, that will mean the stress of hiring! In Agriculture HR we see a lot of No call/No Shows after onboarding. Paperwork and training can be a lengthy process, and you want to be sure that the farm employees you are investing time in are reporting for work. These tips create an early trust and open line of communication between farms and new farm employees.
1. Train Managers on Recruiting Practices
Managers must know the recruiting and hiring practices of your company. If the first contact a potential farm employee speaks to is a manager or crew boss, they need to know what questions they can legally ask, and the importance of the first contact of a potential farm employee. Asking questions like the questions in the table below may open up a conversation about another job that needs a special schedule or a history of NC/NS during employment in past seasons. Training managers to ask the right questions can create more successful long term farm employees. The best policy is to avoid questions about applicants’ age, marital status, political beliefs, disabilities, ethnicity, religion, and family.
2. Set Expectations
Have you ever started a job and felt unprepared, or maybe the organization lacked communication? Our Agriculture employees have the same problem, made worse due to the distance between work sites. Be sure that when you have a captive audience (during orientation) you use all of the tools available to you, like giving out the crew boss’s phone number or a hotline number for farm employees to call after hours with questions. Give new farm employees a map or pin-drop location of their worksite. Most importantly make sure your team member knows who they should contact if they will not be at work for any reason. We recommend sending company policies to each farm employee electronically if possible to ensure employee access.
3. Open Communication
Once all training is complete, be sure to allow time for employee questions. Often, if one person in a group struggles to understand the material, others are as well. Be sure to schedule ample time for each group. You don’t want farm employees to feel that they are being pushed out of the room. It is also important that new hires have resources available to them in their preferred language. Remember to have materials as well as translators available. Creating a space where questions are respected and answered will encourage future communication and cultivate trust.
Now that you have set expectations, and employees have had their questions answered, management must enforce the company policies out on the farm. You want to identify farm employees that are not following the rules and follow through with discipline. Be sure to catch employees meeting expectations and reward good behavior as well! It is also important to offer yearly reminders of rules and expectations of employment. Hold all farm employees accountable for their role in good or bad attendance records.
Onboarding and training new farmworkers can take time. You want to be sure that the farm employees you invested in are being productive. By implementing these tips into your recruiting and hiring practices now, you can reduce the likelihood of No Call/No Shows at your farm.