Farm Team Outlook 2014

Is your all-star team in place for the 2014 season?

It is a reoccurring event: you finish up harvest, take a week to breathe and then realize you need to start planning for the next season.

Once January comes around the pressure is already starting to build; are you ready? Most of us are trying to wrap up year-end financials and make equipment and upgrade decisions. The human capital planning often gets put on the back burner only to come up again a month prior to plant.

Take it from me: with the time it takes to plan, find, screen, hire and train people, earlier is better than later.

To determine the layout of your team and who should be on it you need to forget about the team you have today. Let me explain. Often our clear vision gets fogged up by our current staff - what they can do, what they can't do, what they resist doing.

To clear the fog, act as if you are starting with a clean slate. Determine what your business ideally needs to operate. What are all the key roles and responsibilities for each position? Determine who should report to whom. Draw out an ideal organization chart. Then take your current employees and place them back in the new chart. When you do, my guess is you will have people who don't fit and roles that need coverage. Some small adjustments can be made, but I would be cautious to not make too many.

For the areas where you feel you are lacking resources, further define what you need. Do you need another full-time employee or simply a few seasonal ones for harvest? I often hear the excuse of 'what I need can't be found.' In my recruitment on the farm for seasonal, part-time, full-time, night-shift and everything in between, people can be found. Don't be afraid to fight for what your business needs and ensure you get those individuals in place for the upcoming season.

So how do you handle those who just don't fit with what your business needs? Maybe you already felt they were not a fit, but going through this exercise just amplified your awareness. If you are going to make a move it would be nice to take action early next year as January and February are historically some of the biggest hiring months. It will give that individual an easier time in transitioning to a new company.

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