Turnover, a word that strikes fear into managers everywhere…How do I recruit new hires, how do I onboard them, how will they fit with the team. All legitimate questions we have when replacing somebody and that can keep us up at night. On our farm we recently for differing but very legitimate reasons lost two seasoned team members, one had been here for 13+ years and the other 7+ years. Neither of these employees were terminated by the farm and there was no warning that the change was coming, but due to a non-work related injury and accident these employees were unable to continue working for us. For a small farm (14 employees) this could have been devastating but we have made it through the experience with minimal disruption to our business. While I am no expert on employee relations or management guru I enjoyed examining the experience and wanted to share what I believe helped us to navigate these waters.
First of all we have created a culture on our farm that values stability and thus we are able to attract and hire employees who are looking for an organization that they can grow at and plan on long term employment. This has allowed us to attract very good people and they are comfortable here and don’t actively pursue other jobs, even when recruited heavily by other companies within and without the industry. Not only do we have good people but always have a list of applicants to choose from if needed, which has helped us through our recent experience.
The other thing that has been in valuable is our belief that everybody in the organization has the ability to grow and move up the ladder so to speak. I make it a point to have everybody cross trained in at least two critical tasks. This has allowed me to take the “next person up” and slide them into the open position and allows the rest of the crew to take a step up the responsibility ladder and bring in a new person in an entry level position. It has also allowed me to figure out the strengths and weakness of my individual
We are far from perfect but we have created an environment where our people are encouraged to learn new skills and be ready for opportunity and as a result I feel that I can trust my people with the day to day running of the operation and it allows me to focus on how we can improve profitability and to look for new ideas that we can implement to our business so that we can meet the challenges of the future.