Start right: taking on a new farm worker

Published date02 June 2022
Publication titleClutha Leader
Step 1: Before your employee starts

From the recruitment process, file the CV, application form, reference information, and any previous training information.

Give the employee an introduction to the area and community (doctors, banks, schools, community groups) as well as an introduction to the farm business.

Prepare accommodation, PPE, tools, and vehicles.

Gather appropriate documentation for completion on day one of employment, and check the rest of the steps following to see if any other forms need to be printed.

Talk through and sign the employment agreement and job description with your employee. For the trial period to be valid, the employment agreement must be signed before the employee starts work (even five minutes after starting has been held by the courts to be too late), and the employee must be ‘‘new’’ (this means they have never worked for you, even on a casual basis, before).

Step 2: First day of employment

Accommodation — if you are providing accommodation, talk through and sign a tenancy agreement and a property inspection form.

Complete a tax IR330 form, a KiwiSaver deduction form, and an employee personal information sheet.

Plan week one with your employee. Ensure they have a copy of the roster, know what time they should turn up to work (and where), and know what they will be doing each day, e.g. shadowing another employee, assigned tasks to work on independently.

Tips and resources for the first day:

Visit the DairyNZ resource library for a checklist and orientation documents and forms needed for the first day.

Ask all your existing employees to be part of the orientation process. Each person could spend time explaining their role and maybe demonstrating a specific task. This will aid teamwork and ensure everyone feels part of the team. Often current employees will have great ideas for topics to cover, so ask for their input. During the orientation process look for any training needs your new employee may have and make notes. These skill gaps can then be incorporated into your training and development plan.

Make sure that for the first two weeks on the job, someone is tasked to ‘‘check in’’ with your new employee every few hours to make sure they know what they are doing, and can answer any questions.

We forget that dairy farming is a complex business. Do not assume that your new staff understand industry slang and terminology — do your best to explain even very basic concepts so they can keep up and feel less embarrassed to ask...

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