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Paul is featured in this month’s edition of British Dairying, the monthly trade magazine for UK Dairy Farmers. The article focussed on staffing and provided useful tips to help farmers attract the right staff for their dairy farm. Read the full article below.

Ten top tips for attracting the right staff to your farm

Are you suffering from the headache and strain of recruiting the right people for your farm?  If so, it might be time to take a fresh look at your approach to recruitment.

In this first article on staff development, Paul Harris from Real Success Ltd outlines 10 top tips on attracting the best candidates for your farm.


1. You

How do you talk about your farm, your staff, and your industry?  Are you constantly moaning about the climate, the government, or the difficulty you have in finding staff? Word get’s around and if you’re putting out a negative message about your farming business or the industry, this can often reflect on how your farm will be perceived by new recruits.  So be positive. Put out positive tweets and posts on social media – you’ll soon pick up some followers who could be your next recruits.

2. Good advertising

A poorly worded advert isn’t going to attract people to your farm.  Advertising for staff is your chance to sell your business – so be proud of your farm. Talk about the farm system, the role, the benefits candidates will enjoy and the location of your farm. Remember to include local amenities and details of the accommodation if applicable. And if you’re using social media – use pictures that show your farm in its best light.  Use recruitment sites to manage your adverts and engage outside help if you’re unsure where to start.

3. Online footprint

You need to be internet savvy.  All good candidates will check you out online as soon as they know the name of the farm and if all they can find about you is a directory listing with no information, they might simply move on to consider a role with another farm that has a small website, a Facebook page, Instagram account and are active on Twitter. And don’t be scared to have a website too with some attractive pictures of your farm, your team, and your animals – this will often attract the best candidates.

4. Working conditions

Do you have rusting machinery and old tools lying around the farm or the workshop?  Do you have a clean (and working) toilet and a warm place to rest for your staff?  The first impression your farm gives during an interview will hugely influence how your business is judged so remember – if you wouldn’t expect your own family to work in the conditions on your farm, then don’t expect the best staff to do so.

6. Health and safety

Every farm is a dangerous place to work so do you lead from the front on Health and Safety?  Or do you never wear a helmet on a quad bike and climb onto roofs around the farm? Accidents happen, but a safe farm is an attractive farm so talk about your plans to make your farm is a safe place to work and demonstrate your commitment to keeping everyone safe.

7. Competetive pay

For many, money isn’t the most important aspect when deciding where to work, but if you want the best people, you must be competitive.  But also think about working hours, time off and potential bonuses or profit share.  There are many ways to incentivise staff so ask at the interview which factors are the most important to your candidate.

8. The interview

Be prepared! Rushing down the farm drive to meet a potential new candidate or simply jumping into a truck to drive around the farm, isn’t a professional interview and creates a poor first impression.  Take time to sit down and ask a series of pre-prepared questions.  Have the candidates application to hand and be ready to answer questions.  If this part goes well, you can then show them around the farm.

9. Accommodation

Is the accommodation you provide an old caravan that leaks and is freezing in Winter? Are you maintaining your farm properties to a standard where you’d be prepared to live in them? For many families, the farm accommodation is a key factor in taking a role so check out family details before they arrive for an interview.  There is no point in interviewing a family of six with three dogs and some chickens if the only accommodation you have is a one bedroomed flat or single berth mobile home.

10. Training and development

Be clear on how you invest in and develop your staff.  Do you encourage time off farm in discussion groups? Will they be able to work with external consultants, vets and advisors?  The best people want to grow so show them how your business will develop their skills and careers.

We take the headache out of staff management and development