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The adage ‘good help is hard to find’ is seemingly more correct than ever. Farms requiring employees are left scratching their heads unsure why they cannot attract the right staff, or encourage current staff to maintain an expected level in the workplace. Perhaps it is time for some businesses to take a step back and delve further into their everyday workplace culture and the policies that are involved within this. Recently at the GRDC Farm Business Updates, Denise McLellan discussed the topic of communicating your workplace expectations with employees and how to induct a new employee.


Denise expressed to undertake a ‘solid induction’, the employer should first take some time to reflect on the businesses activities and the culture that is associated with the business.

 As the head of a business the culture is reflective of the standards you set, and a meaningful induction allows the employee to feel valued and safe. You need to ask yourself, what do you want the business to look like? Once this reflection is completed and personal standards have been set, successful inductions can be started.

There are some great free induction resources available online, such as the Induction checklist on the People in Ag website which elaborates the areas that you should cover. These include:

  • Introduction to the farm business
  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Paperwork
  • Rosters
  • Company Policies
  • OH&S Policies
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Operating machinery
  • Farm Tour
  • Introductions to other staff members

Code of Conduct

A main part of the introduction is to make the new employee aware of the ‘code of conduct’. Your code of conduct is vital in the development of workplace culture and enables a reference point for future discrepancies that may arise, most likely during the busy periods such as seeding and harvest.

The code of conduct simply operates by informing the employee what you expect from them, regarding punctuality, communication, teamwork, work ethic and policies surrounding drug, alcohol and mobile phone use etc. It might be valued to you to have tidy farm vehicles, so on Friday afternoons you cleaned out the farm utes, or think it is important to connect with your employees so perhaps you will have a drink after work on a Friday. Ultimately, if an employee is understanding of what the requirements are of them within the business, they are more likely to act in the best interests of the business.


“People don’t do what we expect, they do what we accept” – House Paddock Training


Reward good people

Another point that Denise McLellan rose was “How do we reward our people”? Employees are likely to be happy with the workplace standards and go that extra mile if there is an incentive. Not all rewards have to be monetary, and it can vary from person to person. As Denise stated, some employees may enjoy finishing early on Fridays to take their kids to swimming or pick them up from school.

Happy employees can make a huge difference in the day-to-day operations of the business and makes the employers job easier. If you are thinking about completing an induction with current employees or need help developing a ‘code of conduct’, contact us at ORM.


James Naughton, Graduate Business Analyst


For more information – phone us on 03 5441 6176 or email us

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