The agri-food sector is experiencing a shift — economically, socially and technologically.
Career opportunities are increasing and a change in skills demand is shaping the next generation.
Employers must understand the expectations of new farm hires and how to address them in order to attract dependable workers.
While agriculture and local food may intrigue today’s curious job seekers in the face of the pandemic, farm employers should make an effort to reflect on their workplace culture and the reasons why employees choose food and farming out of the many career paths available.
Employees expect open communication and transparency, positive recognition and workplace culture, an open learning and skill-building environment, as well as training to support physical and mental health, according to a recent webinar series hosted through the Feeding Your Future initiative.
To retain qualified workers, it is important to view these desires in a positive way, to be open to new ideas, and to appreciate that job seekers want to find a workplace that is rewarding and supportive.
Starting with recruitment, a detailed, yet concise job description appeals to job seekers. The job posting should outline the minimum level of education, skills and experience, as well as salary or wage, which will reduce the candidate pool to key qualified job seekers.
Employers should also be up front and realistic about the less attractive components of the job to convey honesty and transparency. Describe the learning and skill-building opportunities the job can provide, as well as potential career paths from entry-level positions.
Onboarding is another important learning opportunity for new hires. Dairy farm owners Rose Keunan and Jayne Dietrich spoke about their experiences during a recent Feeding Your Future webinar.
Both employers are thorough during the hiring and training process. They make an effort to provide learning opportunities and maintain open communication to address all concerns or questions.
Employers should make their expectations clear, but employee needs should be respected as well.
For more information on the Feeding Your Future initiative, led by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and collaborators, visit feedingyourfuture.ca.