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Agriculture HR trends to watch in 2019

WorkHorse Hub January 17, 2019

Human resources (HR) are a challenge in any industry. Agriculture adds layers of complexity to HR challenges because of the nuances and attributes that distinguish us from other industries. Long hours, hazardous duty jobs, and physical labor all contribute to challenges your ag business will face with HR.

Agricultural businesses cited recruiting difficulties and competing for talent as their top HR concerns, and this is likely true for your business as well. This will continue to be a dilemma as other industries offer remote work, increase salaries, and work to keep employees engaged.

Innovative technology is changing the agriculture industry, and the HR aspects of running an equipment dealership are also being improved by technology. Several trends in 2019 can help improve the HR functions of your business. Let’s take a closer look.

Get online

Competition is fierce for ag employees as applicants have a multitude of job opportunities available to them. Equipment dealerships need to meet potential candidates where they are. This may mean letting go of our traditional methods of finding employees, and using specialized online platforms, such as WorkHorse Hub, to recruit potential employees.

Candidates want information about a job before they apply. They are looking for the location, job description, salary, and benefits. Potential employees also want to apply for a job the same way they would for other positions, and this means online.

Build trust

Trust is an issue that HR and organizations are facing worldwide. The global trust average is a score of 72 out of 100—that is, 72% of employees trust their employers. Canada is rated a 75, and the United States rated at 79. Both saw a positive change from 2016 to 2018, however there is room for improvement.

HR in your equipment dealership business must be cognizant of the fact that employees may not have full trust in the organization or technology used. Work to build trust with employees because that will be your foundation for teamwork. Many employees believe that HR exists to serve the needs of the business, not the employee.

This erodes trust. So how can we change the model? We’re so glad you asked!

Individualize it

Each of our employees is an individual who brings unique skills and talents to our organization. For example, if you are an ag equipment dealer, you may have some employees who are superb at sales, and another group that understands mechanics and can work with equipment. Or, some may not enjoy working as much with customers, so they should not be forced to.

Among each group, the various employees have unique talents. One mechanic may focus on a specialized piece of equipment, while another focuses on liaising directly with customers to ensure their equipment needs are being met.

The point is no two employees are the same. Across industries, HR is beginning to personalize services offered for each employee.

For one employee, health insurance might not be a concern, because they have it through their spouse, but for another employee it could be a deal breaker. One employee might be extremely interested in professional development, while someone else is more concerned with annual salary.

HR must individualize its services for each employee and work to meet their needs. At the end of the day, people are a key part of HR’s functions and your equipment dealership business success.

Individualization shouldn’t stop at HR though. This is something that each of our employees are looking for at every touchpoint in their job, from their interactions with a manager to their experience with HR. Multi-generational workplaces require individualization, and creating this in your company can increase your employee commitment.

Technology can help and hurt

...But the trend is towards help, with artificial intelligence and digital platforms innovation.

In the past, the mindset was that HR required mounds of paperwork and tedious record keeping. Automating where possible can lessen the HR workload by allowing you to focus on processes that can’t be automated, and serving employees individual needs.

We’re automating our ag equipment, shouldn’t our HR processes keep up with the same trends? Outsource tasks that require large time commitments and have low value. Then, you can better utilize your time on high impact projects, and tasks to individualize services to employees.

What are some examples of ways we’ve seen ag businesses automate their HR processes? For us at WorkHorse Hub, we help automate and streamline the recruitment process with specialized labor knowledge and technology. We handle onboarding newly hired employees with less paperwork, handle orientation, succession planning for leadership roles in the company, and employee benefits. All of this can now be easily handled by leveraging the right technology tools.

This is a win-win situation for HR and the employee. Use technology to your advantage and let it enhance the HR systems within your business. This allows you to focus on offering the best service possible to your employees and organization.

Help your employees grow

Most people have heard the phrase: “What happens if we invest in our employees and they leave? Worse yet, what happens if we don’t invest in them and they stay?” Developing your employees is equally as important as fine-tuning your business plan.

Investing in your employees should be a priority for 2019. Help them develop their soft skills such as leadership and communication. Provide trainings or funding for continuing education and professional development.

Maintain happy and fulfilled employees and building a successful company starts with investment in your employees. Some may leave for other jobs, however others will stay, and they become the future of your ag business.

Combine this trend with the above one, and give your employees exposure to new technological tools. Because let’s face it, we are only becoming more reliant on technology as time goes on.

HR trends in ag summary

Agriculture is unlike any other industry, and we’re challenged with feeding a growing population on the same, if not fewer acres. Human resources must be addressed in any business, but shouldn’t hinder the growth and success of the company.

Innovative technology is changing the ag industry and the HR aspects of running an equipment dealership business are changing just as quickly. Get out ahead of the changes in your equipment dealership business by acknowledging the trends and using them to improve your HR processes and employee experiences.

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