Probably the most important category of resources in any business operation is human resources. That definitely includes our farm and agribusiness operations. Labor costs are often one of the highest cost categories - particularly in dairy, swine and beef feedlot operations - so it is vital to hire right and then train and retain those good employees. Here are a few notes on how to improve your hiring process.
First, review the needs of your farm and hiring practices that you have used in the past. Reviewing the needs of your operation may require an analysis of costs and cash flow for your operation to help determine what labor costs you can afford. Analyze whether full-time or part-time employees are needed and perhaps more specifically when the labor needs are greatest – such as weekends, evenings or early mornings. There may even be times of the year. For example, in dairy operations there may be peak periods of freshening when the labor requirement is somewhat increased.
Before posting that help wanted announcement, give careful thought to putting together a written position description. Don’t just use a canned job description for farm workers. Sit down and make a list of all the different duties you may expect of this new employee. Then review the list and determine whether expectations are reasonable, or whether you need to prioritize some of those duties.
Be sure to include any physical requirements of the position, such as lifting, standing, reaching and stretching. Also list whether there is any knowledge, training or previous work experience you expect the new employee to bring to the job. Finally, describe the working conditions, such as days and hours to be worked, flexibility required.
With any farm employment, it is always important to determine whether the position requires a regular driver’s license or CDL. There is information on the Iowa Department of Transportation website http://www.iadotforms.dot.state.ia.us/iowadotforms/GetTemplate.aspx?did=816 that can help an employer determine whether a CDL is needed for the position.
While it is not necessary to include a pay range in a job announcement or position description, a proposed pay range should be determined prior to starting the recruitment process. The pay range should be in line with what you can afford, but it is also needs to align with the expectations of the position. Consider possible incentive or bonus payments and benefits that may be offered with the position.