What do most large companies want as their bragging rights to candidates? To be listed as one of the "best places to work" on one of the infamous lists produced by independent firms.
In these surveys, companies are rated and compared on everything from employee satisfaction, compensation and culture to work/life balance, employee perks and benefits. In the corporate world it is a big deal to be on these lists. Why? Employees are shopping for their next opportunity. The all-star employees are searching for a place where they are appreciated, where they like coming to work every day and they can see the impact of their work.
These large companies are not short of applications coming through the door. However, they are looking for quality applicants. Shouldn't you be after the same goal on your farm? Shouldn't you want to be considered a 'best place to work?'
If so, you must be proactive in your effort to develop the right culture and perks to attract the best people.
I have worked with several farms currently offering some amazing perks. There is a farm that gives the entire staff a month off in the winter - with pay! The owner's justification is that his employees are working so many hours - 2800 hours or more throughout the year - and an extended break lets them come back refreshed and ready to go for the next season.
Other farms pay for lunches daily and/or offer to pay cell phone coverage.
Quite a few farms hire someone to cook the lunches and dinners during plant/harvest and deliver to the field, which is a win-win for the farm and employee during the busy season.
A lot of farms are moving to offering other traditional benefits such as health insurance, paid time off and simple retirement plans.
Related: Can Farms Compete for Talent?
If you are not interested in offering health insurance, consider a health insurance stipend; giving an employee an amount towards the purchase of their own health insurance. This would be separate from their compensation, so in the event you would like to offer health insurance in the future you can simply discontinue the stipend.
So, you may not be able to reduce the hours in field, but there are still a lot of ways to entice good people to accept your job offer. Being out in the elements, being part of a family operation and being part of the action are great enticements. Top it off with some great benefits and perks and you will be able to attract the all-star.
Don't be shy, either. If you are offering perks, showcase them.
Need help with designing a paid time off plan, developing a job descriptions and/or searching for candidates? Visit us at www.aghires.com for resources, job postings and more.
The opinions of Lori Culler are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.