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Hire employees who will form friendships

Employee Communication
Employees remain with an organization due to the people, rather than the perks or stellar compensation.

Retention seemed to be a hot HR issue in 2019. To better understand what agribusinesses were doing to keep star employees, conducted the “Retention Practices Within the Agriculture Industry” survey this past summer.

Out of nearly 100 agribusinesses that participated, 85% felt “concerned” or “very concerned” about their employee retention. When asked whether they thought that concern would increase, more than half replied yes.

So, since the importance of retention strategy isn’t going away any time soon, what should you focus on to ensure you keep great employees in 2020?

Let’s grab a drink

My coworker recently alerted me to an article on LinkedIn that read something to the effect of, “You don’t need to get your employees a keg as long as they have co-workers they’d like to grab a drink with after work.”

I thought this spoke well to the current trend we are seeing: employees remain with an organization due to the people, rather than the perks or stellar compensation. In fact, I have a good friend who truly dislikes her job but has remained in the same role for the past four years because she genuinely enjoys the friendships she’s formed with her coworkers.

It’s not such a radical thought: to improve retention, hire people who, hopefully, will like each other. But how do you pull it off?

Here’s a short, simple guide:

  • Create a workplace culture. Not sure if you even have a workplace culture? This doesn’t have to be anything fancy—you certainly don’t have to bring in a professional to evaluate your workplace and let you know if you have a “culture.” What is it honestly like to work at your farm? Is it pretty laid back and fun? Or is it cut-throat? Do most people get along or do they keep to themselves?
  • Promote communication. Employees want to be heard. They want to feel like they are a valuable asset and not just a set of hands. Listen to ideas. Create channels and opportunities for those ideas to be shared. Encourage employees to be team members and work together to solve problems and accomplish goals.
  • Encourage camaraderie. Encourage your employees to get to know each other. Promote team building activities. Host office lunches or evening meals once in a while. Get employees talking with each other while working to form friendships and team bonds.
  • Hire for your culture. Once you feel like there is something distinct about working at your farm business, you’ll just know when you interview future employees and whether they’ll fit in. Gauge applicants’ personalities and ask what they find valuable in a workplace to determine their compatibility with your current employees.

Promoting workplace friendships or even just teamwork increases not only retention but also productivity. Continue to work toward building a team that enjoys working with one another for less employee turnover and greater success as a business.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

TAGS: Management
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