Combat HR Challenges in Agriculture

Make sure you're offering employees "the basics." ( iStock )

Agricultural employers’ most concerning human resource matter is competing for and recruiting the right people for their workforce.  This trend of recruitment difficulties emerged in the most recent Agribusiness HR Review, as employers hinted at their challenges through several different areas such as applicants without the necessary skills or experience, and a lower number of applicants.  In addition, recruitment difficulties were noted as the second most common factor affecting workforce planning, behind voluntary turnover.

Agricultural employers noted that technical and hourly/non-exempt roles were the most difficult to recruit for, with the challenges of hourly employee recruitment showing a significant increase from the previous year.    

So, what are employers doing to address these challenges and fill open positions?

The number one step organizations take to compete against other employers is offering better benefits to employees and new hires. More than 80% of companies offer a retirement savings to match their employees’ contributions.  For hourly/non-exempt staff, 401k/retirement was the top benefit offered, followed by health insurance, bonuses, and tuition reimbursement. 

Employers note that employee referrals and networks are the top methods of attracting prospective applicants to their organization.  More than 80% of agribusiness companies conduct exit interviews with employees.  This allows them to gauge what they are doing right, and what they can improve. Positive word-of-mouth is a powerful tool to recruit new hires. 

Understanding the current climate in an organization is vital.  Measuring employee satisfaction reinforces an organization’s commitment to evaluating and improving company culture.  Nearly half of companies indicated they measure employee satisfaction and engagement.  Participating organizations said they concentrate on giving employees the opportunity to use their skills and abilities, and focus on relationships with coworkers as the primary methods to maintain or improve company culture.

The Agribusiness HR Review provides a range of human resource practices relevant to agribusinesses over the last twelve months.  Discover more recruiting and retention trends by downloading the full copy of the new survey analysis:  2017-2018 U.S. Agribusiness HR Review

Editor’s Note: Bonnie Johnson is a marketing associate with collaborates with clients to help overcome recruitment challenges and provide the most recent industry data to assist in decision making. It assists in recruitment through single job postings or custom talent solutions. Visit or email [email protected] for more information.