Managing a team of new employees on a farm can be quite challenging. As an owner or manager, ensuring that each employee has the necessary equipment to do their job is essential.
Fortunately, Catherine Sylvestre, production manager at FQT Farm, has some valuable experience in this area. We’re excited to share some of her tips to ensure a smooth and successful integration of a new team on the farm.
New Employees’ Kit
One of the first things to consider is equipping each employee with the necessary tools for their job. To make things easier, Catherine has put together a “market gardener’s kit”, which is given to each person on their first day of work. It contains all the essentials such as a walkie-talkie, an opinel knife, waterproof overalls, an exacto, and work gloves.
Orientation Session For New Employees
In addition to providing the right tools, it’s crucial to ensure that each new employee understands the farm’s operation, their role within the team, and the season’s goals. To do this, Catherine recommends holding an orientation session during the first week of work. This meeting provides an overview of the farm and explains in detail the different tasks that will be performed. It helps get everyone on the same page, clarifies each person’s role and responsibilities, and prevents any confusion about what is expected of each team member.
Creating a positive and cohesive atmosphere for the team is another critical step. Catherine suggests scheduling a social activity to allow the team to get to know each other better. It can be a team dinner, Friday night drinks, board game, quiz, or volleyball game. This activity provides a great opportunity to bond and build a strong and effective team. Take this opportunity to congratulates the team on a successful first week of work.
The Importance of Training
Finally, it is important to offer training to allow employees to learn new skills and improve their work. During the first week, you can hold express trainings with the entire team in the field. For example, choose five tasks you repeat constantly and demonstrate them. At FQT Farm, Catherine prioritizes certain topics such as tarp and row cover installation, nursery irrigation, and using BCS. These trainings provide a better understanding of the overall production process, while giving employees the opportunity to ask questions, feel confident and improve their skills.
Integrating new employees into a farming crew may seem like a secondary task, but it can make a massive difference throughout the season if handled correctly. By following these simple steps, you can make the process more efficient and enjoyable and rewarding for all team members, resulting in a beautiful, cohesive, efficient, and productive team. So, take the time to plan and execute an integration strategy, and you’ll reap the benefits!