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Producers mitigate business risks with HR training

  • 2 min read

Human resources are important in a farm operation and producers know it.

Jade Reeve, manager of AgriJobs with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, says HR training helps producers manage their workforce, especially important when the business depends on the people hired.

“Having some HR training in place helps to ensure consistency and fairness when it comes to managing your workforce - including family and non-family workers - and the policies set in place for the business, whether it’s compensation and benefits, health and safety policies or even policies on workplace wellness,” Reeve says.

Top issues for producers

Manitoba Pork Council’s Industry Performance and Services Committee surveyed members at its fall producer meetings to determine HR priorities and with the goal of developing the most-requested training. Performance management and conflict resolution topped the list.

Janice Goldsborough, HR and training co-ordinator with the Manitoba Pork Council, says members pointed out it takes time to find and hire the right staff and once that's done, they want the employees to stay.

“There are a lot of people from different backgrounds working on farms today and things can get difficult; if they aren’t getting along, managers want to know what they can do,” Goldsborough says.

Consider HR as risk management

Mary Robinson, president of Canadian Federation of Agriculture, says HR training should be considered business risk management on a farm. For instance, HR training addresses risks associated with labour shortages through improved recruitment practices and unforeseen productivity losses due to improved employee retention.

“HR training is increasingly important to many farms, as the average Canadian farm continues to increase in size and complexity, requiring greater reliance on hired help in many instances,” Robinson says. “People are at the heart of any successful business and farming is no different."

She says that along with managing risk, HR training is another means of improving overall business performance and enabling a business to move forward without undue labour constraints.

“HR management in isolation won’t necessarily address the structural issues that create labour shortages in many remote rural areas, but it does help ensure that farmers understand and have access to the best tools available to them,” Robinson says.

Tools to help

CAHRC’s AgriHR Toolkit provides a wide range of resources to assist with HR management.

Manitoba Pork also offers training seminars. It recently held sessions on conflict resolution and performance management and expects additional sessions later this year. Details, including dates and locations, will be posted on its webpage.

Bottom line

Hiring and retaining the right people is vital to a farm’s success. Producers recognize that HR training, particularly in the areas of performance management and conflict resolution, needs to be a priority. Experts recommend farmers consider HR training as business risk management for their operation.

Article by: Trudy Kelly Forsythe