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Why you need training for your farm employees

Ed Bock/The Image Bank/Getty Images farmer using laptop in corn field
How to clearly communicate procedures and expectations for working at your farm.

I have a range of different employees – seasonal help, new people, longtime employees. I forget to take everybody through training about our farm and my expectations. I know I should be doing this but it’s not happening. What have you seen that works? – R.J., Mo.

Just the fact that you’re asking this question tells me that you want to give your employees a good experience.

On the farm, safety training and expectations, in particular, are a big deal. On some farms, the norm seems to be to drive the semis as hard and fast as you can. Other farms say, “you better not be speeding.” This is all tied to the expectations for employees on the farm – and you want to clearly establish what those expectations are.

To make it easier on yourself, document the top principles that every employee on your farm needs to clearly understand. Spell these standards out in writing. The goal is to make it easier to discuss what really matters.

Maybe it includes the rules around filling gas in vehicles or safety procedures you use –the expectations and procedures that are unique to your farm. Putting them in writing makes it easier for employees to do the right thing every time.

You – or someone else in your operation – could even create a short YouTube video that’s unlisted, which means the only people who can watch it are those with the link. In the video, you can go through your key points. Having employees watch the video means you don’t have to talk about the same things over and over. Use technology to save yourself time while giving them a better experience.

Long-term, think about how you can invest in your employees’ ongoing training and development. They need to know that they’re getting better every year while being trusted with more responsibility.

Bottom line: Employee training is important, and it doesn’t have to be super formal. It’s really about helping employees grow and making sure they know what’s expected of them as a part of your team.

--Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions.
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