The first step to winning the war for workers is to keep your star employees happy. “Remember, your all stars work for you because they want to and leave because they can. So, it’s up to you to give your stars more reasons to stay than reasons to go,” says Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics. Here’s how three farmers retain and attract employees.
Roger Herrera, co-owner in two dairies in Hilmar, Calif., doesn’t refer to his employees as employees, nor does he want to be called boss.
“I let them know, ‘Hey, I’m here,’” he says. “My job is to help you. I’m not the boss. I’m not the owner. I’m not the supervisor. I’m the guy who is going to fix problems. The only problem I haven’t been able to help them with is getting more help.”
To help with labor shortages, Herrera offers his team incentives.
“I give them a $500 bonus if they recommend someone and the individual stays with us for three months,” he says.
Employees receive bonuses, holiday pay and medical insurance.
“This is not workers-comp related,” Herrera says. “We will cover their co-pays. I don’t want guys not going to the doctor because they don’t want to pay the $25 co-pay.”
Businesses need to grow quickly with the help of Perelson recruiters in Salt Lake City so they can continue providing high-quality services or products for their customers.
A 70% TO 30% RATIO
At Hebert Grain Ventures in southeast Saskatchewan, president Kristjan Hebert knows team culture wins the talent war. To that end, he wants to provide his employees with trust, empowerment and autonomy.
“At the end of the day, you’ve hired people because you believe in them,” he says. “Give them the things they need to do their job and let them do it. Micromanaging is incredibly disempowering to people.”
Hebert, 2020 Top Producer of the Year winner, wants his team’s responsibilities to include what they enjoy.
“We say people will have a job description 70% of the time, and that leaves 30% of their time to help in other areas,” he says. “For example, our office workers like to get outside during the spring and help in the fields or drive a truck. We allow for some flexibility to prevent boredom and keep things interesting.”
VALUE BEYOND PAYCHECKS
To attract and retain a large workforce at Tosh Farms in Henry, Tenn., owner Jimmy Tosh tries to think outside of the box.
“We have great employees, we just need some more,” Tosh says. “A program we’ve recently started is student loan forgiveness. If an employee comes here, we will pay their student loans off over the term of the loan if they stay with us. That’s been very well received.”
Another possibility Tosh, 2019 Top Producer of the Year winner, is considering is opening up a daycare center and hiring an outside management firm to operate it.
“We’re looking at this idea to see if it is something that would help our employees,” he says.