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Written by Aleisha Dalmayer: Business Manager

Finding skilled labour is difficult. Especially when the role is for long shifts, short sleeps and high stress levels! So how do we find our newest recruits for peak seasons?
Here are 3 tips to help you find your next employee for the busiest parts of the year:
1. Clearly identify the role.
When determining the role, first have a chat with your current employees. You may find they are eager to learn a new skill. By including your staff in identifying the role, you are encouraging an inclusive and positive culture which will have a positive influence on any new staff and can lead to greater staff retention.
Be clear as to how many hours are required, conditions of employment and potential stress levels. A person expecting a 9-5 shift Monday to Friday will get a rude shock if they are put on baling duties. Better to be clear up-front than be left in the lurch in the middle of harvest or cropping by the departure of a disgruntled employee.

2. What are you going to offer?
There is a high likelihood the seasonal labour will not be local and will need accommodation. In my experience they have also requested either a work phone or an allowance toward their phones. Communication is an integral part of peak periods and if your new employee has a prepaid plan and keeps running out of credit, your communication channel drops off.
Also consider their base rate, remembering casuals receive an additional 25% loading on top of standard base rate. They are also likely to be working double the ordinary hours in overtime so if you are planning on using a flat rate, be sure to factor this into the calculation.

3. Where to look?
Direct contact with previous seasonal staff should be your first option. You know their work ethic, have experienced their skills and they already have a potential rapport with the team. Second option would be word of mouth. Ask your team if they know of anyone looking for seasonal work. There is a possibility that they are local and can start earlier which might be the better option if you are running short on time.

Adverts through newspapers and online apps such as ‘Seek’ can attract a broad range of applications but can be time consuming to sort through. If you are looking for a specific skill set and are short on time, the better option would be to engage a recruitment agency that specialises in agriculture, such as Ag Workforce or Rural Enterprises. A very efficient process is where you provide them with the details of the role and what you would be offering and they do the rest. Best of all you don’t pay anything until they have found you a suitable person. This process comes at a cost but the results can be very positive. We have had many clients utilise these services and have approximately 70% success rate, with some staff even coming back year after year!

Where to next?
Once you have found your next employee you will need to provide them with a letter of offer, employment agreement and induct them into your workplace.

Check out other articles written about awards and agreements on our website to help you get started.

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