WA has an ever-expanding farming industry, with plenty of open space to really expand and grow a small business. Here are the five top HR issues facing the farming industry today and how to deal with them.

  • Skill development – many casual employees that come to work on farms do not have much prior experience, especially if they are backpackers completing the rural work component of a visa. This requires training to be carefully planned and implemented to ensure that all employees are equipped with the skills they need to effectively perform their jobs.
  • Accommodation and housing – as most farms are in remote areas, providing housing or accommodation for your employees can be an issue. This could involve building another residential property on your farm, or having space within your own home to house your employees. This can become a bigger issue when dealing with casual staff who may only work a few days per week, but still need to be able to stay locally during their working hours.
  • High turnover rates – employing backpackers or international travellers can result in a very high turnover rate. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to high recruitment costs, including inducting and training new employees more often than the average business.
  • Busy seasons – depending on the type of farm you are running, you will find your busy season varies throughout the year. This can mean a lot of stress over one particular time of year, and a lot of chopping and changing with working hours during the off season. It is important to clearly communicate to all employees how the different seasons will affect their working hours and employment contract.
  • Health and safety – working on a farm could mean operating heavy machinery, or dealing with unpredictable animals. Health and safety is paramount in ensuring that all employees understand the risks and how to respond in an emergency. Having clear, concise and easily accessed policies and procedures is a great start to ensure that all employees understand their responsibilities towards health and safety on your farm.

For more information on HR and your farm, contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or enquiries@processworx.com.au.

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