Running any type of agricultural practice can be extremely difficult. The industry itself is tough and, in many ways, entirely unique. There are aspects of agriculture that require specific labor management practices in order for the organization to be successful. Without good leadership and efficient management, the organization can fall apart all too quickly. What’s more, because agriculture jobs are often difficult and labor-intensive, it can be all too easy to lose the loyalty and productivity of workers without proper management. Here, we will go over some critical labor management practices for organizations operating in the agriculture sector.

Labor Management Practices

Undergo Employee Selection Testing

Without good workers, any type of agricultural organization will fall apart at the seams. Because the work is often skilled and difficult, it can be very tricky to find the right team members. Yet, the most important management decision you will make within your agricultural operation is to hire the right people for the job.

In many cases, the most successful employers test candidates before they hire them. Because a lot of agricultural work requires hands-on labor, an interview-only process won’t be successful in hiring the right people. It’s critical that workers are asked to show their hands-on skills, too. Short, practical tests where employees get to milk, prune, or perform whatever task needs to be done are highly recommended. Farm supervisors and managers should also be tested. It’s strongly suggested that you avoid a solely interview-based hiring process.

Offer Fair and Incentivizing Pay

In a pay-for-performance system, quality work and productivity are rewarded. It is necessary for both the agricultural organization and employees to benefit from the payment method in the long run.

Employees should be rewarded for the things they control, which realistically is only the effort they put in or their work ethic. Group incentives are not as effective as incentives that reward individual efforts. Pay crew workers an hourly wage that’s fair, and offer non-monetary incentives wherever possible, including a good benefits program. This type of approach results in lower pay per effort with increased productivity.

Focus On Quality Control

Calibration of the judgment of those who make quality control decisions is the first step in quality control. Incorporate quality control into the incentive pay reward formula whenever possible to help avoid workers and supervisors from having any conflict. It is important to ensure quality control even when paying by the hour.

It’s imperative that you avoid demoralizing workers by determining quality inconsistently. In order for quality control to work effectively, it needs to be consistent. All employees need to be held to the same quality control standards, no matter what.

Implement Proper Discipline and Supervision

As with any organization, violations of clear rules must be met with consistent consequences. The discipline must be administered consistently, and employees need to be held accountable for mistakes or oversights. Leaders need to be trained in the appropriate ways to discipline workers. If shortcuts are taken when interacting with others, your organization will pay for it later.

Negotiated Performance Appraisal

In this particular appraisal approach format, a supervisor and an employee each prepare lists of what they did well, what they improved on in recent months, and what they have yet to improve on. Employees should also be prepared to discuss how they intend to improve in weak areas.

Both leaders and workers benefit from the NPA because it improves communication and productivity while still allowing leaders to determine weak areas and hold employees accountable. Additionally, it’s imperative that leaders celebrate the successes of their employees. It’s important that performance appraisals are administered effectively, with leaders working with their employees to coach them and help them learn and develop. Additionally, it can be helpful to talk about individual goals and how workers wish to pursue their career path to help them have something to strive for and work towards.

Party-Directed Mediation (PDM)

In any organization, conflict can, and will, arise among team members. It’s critical that your leaders are prepared to adequately resolve such conflicts before they become a bigger issue. Prior to ever bringing employees who may have been involved in a conflict together, this approach involves meeting separately with them first to discuss the issue. The employee can also be coached on effective ways to react without being defensive in separate meetings beforehand.

After speaking to workers individually, leaders should then bring them together in a joint session, where the mediator sits far from the participants, making it clear the parties themselves will be hosting the discussion and creating solutions. Avoid micromanaging the meeting. For conflict resolution to work effectively, the employees need to talk about it between themselves.

Regular Meetings

Often, there are numerous employees working for an agricultural organization, all of them with different jobs, goals, and priorities. However, they all work for the same company, which means they all need to be on the same page and understand what one another contributes to the organization. Often, organizations that involve a lot of labor-intensive work and hands-on jobs overlook the importance of more white-collar practices that can help bring a team together and ensure operations run smoothly. In order to ensure everyone stays on the same page and works as a team, hold regular meetings with all workers. Encourage all participants to share their ideas or concerns, and focus on keeping positive, open lines of communication.

Running an agricultural company is different from managing other organizations in many ways, but just like any other company, it also needs to be managed correctly. It’s important that leaders of any type of agricultural venture know how to properly manage their workers in order to see the company be successful. Without proper management, organizations will suffer from low productivity, inefficient employees, and high turnover that will negatively impact the company.