Food security is a source of national concern, especially as inflationary pressures force consumers to be more particular about their purchasing. If your agriculture business is stagnating or if markets are becoming excessively constricted, it may be time to take a hard look at your employee skillset.
1. Start Employees Young
Offer employees the chance to learn as they earn. Put out feelers to local universities, technical schools, and high schools for students who may be in a good position to take on a paid internship or part-time work.
You will obviously need to focus on summer hours and holiday options for high school students. As possible, work with local teachers and administrators to see about offering credits as well as a paycheck.
For college and technical school students, offer the chance to pick up a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule per semester. Provide them the chance to shadow those already working in the agriculture industry to learn more about this evolving, engaging business.
2. Offer Plenty Of Flexibility
The people with the skills you need may not yet be available in your area. Do your best to work with an agriculture head hunter who can help you find professionals that will be willing to work remotely with your team.
Remote work provides your business with many options. If you’re looking to bump up your marketing team, you may be able to get some work done by gig workers until you find the right fit. If you find a contract worker who consistently provides excellent quality work, it may well be time to offer them a salaried position.
Of course, once they are your employee you will need to schedule some face-to-face connections. If your end goal is to bring them on full-time, in-house, you’re going to need to build a quality community for them to join.
3. Focus On Community
Sadly, many rural communities are in decline. A high cost of living and low access to earning and educational opportunities may be starving your community. If your intention is to bring in employees to live and work in your region, the offerings may need to be improved.
Small-town schools can be excellent places to learn, but your organization may need to bump up access to learning tools such as high-speed internet, remote learning opportunities, and digital coursework. Small-town living can be a big boon to potential employees, but isolation may cut into your employee pool if you want them to live and work in your community.
4. Foster Leadership Skills
Promoting from within is a terrific way to scale up your business with quality employees. If you ever need to bring in temporary workers, keep an eye on which of your employees is the best trainer for these people.
Managers have to lead, but a quality manager who can also teach will eventually end up with a more highly skilled crew or team. If you have managers with a strong vision who always seem to have a frustrated team, training with that manager for more effective communication may be necessary.
The training you invest in should always pay you back. If you have employees who are unhappy, you’re not going to get their best work. Strong communication skills can be the difference between a manager who has to push and a manager who truly leads.
5. Put Time Into Networking
For many business people, the idea of networking is very far down the list of things they want to do. However, by joining with others in your profession, you can get a feel for the types of employees you need to add to your business to grow.
For example, you may need a marketing leader for your small business. At a networking event, you may meet a marketing middle manager who is content with their job but not on fire about it. If you sense a desire to grow during your conversation with them, they may be thrilled to take on a leadership position in your organization.
Amping up your business will require you to reach out on many fronts. You may have to do things that you really don’t want to so you can meet up with folks that you truly need to hire. Strive for incremental improvements in your entry-level employees.