The COVID-19 pandemic has hit farms hard in unexpected ways. This year has highlighted labour shortages for many farmers. Work usually done by uni students, backpackers and international workers has been left for farmers to pick up along with their existing load. Increased work and decreased labour available, has put stress on the agricultural industry to find people to do the work. In the past, these positions have been filled by those mentioned previously with typically lower expectations of pay and working conditions. However, the pandemic has forced farmers to reassess this business model of relying on cheap international labour.
While labour shortages are not a new issue for agricultural businesses, this year casual labour shortages for the grain and horticultural harvest have caught national attention. However, attracting and retaining full-time employees is also difficult. This has left family-run farms stressed and pushed to their limits, doing more work with less help.
Competition to recruit good farm employees is hot! With those who can afford to offering well above award rates to win employees this harvest. According to Rimfire Resources, agricultural job advertisements were up by 78.5%. With so much demand, how can you attract and retain good employees? The answer is investment!
Similar to machinery, good quality employees require investment, they need to be nurtured and maintained to keep the farm operating smoothly. Investing in machinery is expected in agriculture, but the same logic is not extended to investing in people.
Farmer’s may underestimate how much people issues such as labour shortages, poor conditions and team dysfunction can impact the operations and productivity of their business.
Several farming businesses are already acknowledging the important role management and investment in their people has on their business. These businesses make their Farm an ‘employer of choice’, with development, training, management and human resources, that attract and retain quality employees. This approach allows farmers to keep their staff for longer, by providing employment security, attractive pay and conditions and respect and appreciation.
It is common for Farms to contract out work to shearers, accountants, lawyers and agronomists, so why not human resources? Human resources can help farmers start investing in their people to change the culture and reduce future labour shortages. That’s where ProcessWorx comes in! ProcessWorx are an expert HR consultancy with extensive experience in the agricultural industry. With over 200 agribusiness clients nationwide, ProcessWorx can provide trusted pragmatic advice for farmers wanting to invest in their people.
Farmers can have peace of mind that a team of experts is helping their business, so you can focus on farming. If you have queries about anything above and want advice personalised to your business, contact us on (08) 9316 9896, or email email@example.com