HR Series Week 1

HR Best Practices Series 

Farm business owners face countless responsibilities and demands on their time.  Your business depends on the people who work for you, but managing and supporting your workforce can be a challenging and complex task.  To provide some guidance, we are delivering a six-week series of HR Best Practices that employers may wish to consider, to nurture good employee relations while ensuring they remain compliant with legislation.

First, what are “HR Best Practices”?  

Best practices are a set of Human Resources Management processes and actions that work universally.  Use of best practices can lead to improved business performance, increasing productivity and profitability.  It is no secret that the agriculture industry has many unique needs, and the AgSector Program helps to consider those needs and provide custom industry resources.  Human resource activities fall into six core silos that every farm business should manage: 

  • Recruitment and Hiring
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employee Relations
  • Training and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Labour Legislation Compliance

Week 1 – Recruitment and Hiring:

Hiring motivated, committed, and qualified people is a goal of every business.  When it comes to recruiting and retaining employees, you want to do it right—to set everyone up for success.  

Prepare Accurate and Attractive Job Postings 

A job posting should come from a well-written job description that defines the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a particular job.  A job description can be very general or detailed, depending on the size and complexity of your operation.  Some elements that should always be included are responsibilities of the position and specific knowledge, skills, and other characteristics required to perform the various tasks of the position.  It is also important to specify working conditions relevant to the position, including physical capacity, work schedule, and terms of employment.  

Ensure recruitment is unbiased and inclusive.  Your job postings should be welcoming to workers of all abilities and cultures.  Using phrasing like: “Ability to complete tasks with or without reasonable accommodations.” 

Remember to advertise for humans, not machines.  If your conditions are adaptable and flexible depending on the job and the worker, be sure to highlight that.  This is your recruitment tool, so hone it in a way that potential workers will want to work for you!

Make Use of Social Media

Social media platforms, along with traditional job boards, serve as effective recruitment channels.  By sharing or advertising your jobs vacancies on social media you increase the chances of finding qualified employees faster.  As social media evolves, with platforms going in and out of favour, your job advertising processes should too.  Of course remember to post on first!

Revamp your interviewing process

Think about whether your current interviewing process makes sense.  Interviews are important for assessing “a good fit”, which is a crucial hiring gauge for farm employers, but it is also one of the squishiest things to measure.  It is difficult to have an accurate and consistent view of our own culture—and even if we think we do, understanding what represents a good fit is not straightforward.  

Stick to questions that predict good hires—mainly about past experience and performance relevant to the tasks of the job.  Be sure to ask the same questions consistently with all applicants.  Winging it and asking whatever comes to mind is not a good use of your time.

Ask open-ended questions too.  While interviewing an applicant, you want them to do most of the talking.  Asking open-ended questions will require them to go into detail about previous work experiences.  

For assistance with any of these aspects, the CAHRC HR Toolkit valuable is resource, or contact the AgSector Program at [email protected] for guidance.