GFM Network News


Before meeting with an employee to discuss areas of improvement, it’s a good idea to create a plan for the conversation.

How to deliver constructive criticism

Focus on end results to eliminate the emotional sting and to improve performance

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you’re like a lot of people, you’d rather do anything than give negative feedback. Even when it is well-intentioned, criticism isn’t easy to deliver. It’s anxiety-producing both for the giver of the negative feedback and for the receiver. As a result, most of us avoid giving negative feedback, which, of course, fixes nothing. Failing […] Read more

Dealing with problem employees effectively

Instead of firing them, use these tips to coach problem cases into good employees

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s getting tougher to find and keep good employees. Nor, by all indications, is the situation going to improve anytime soon. According to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council’s newly released Labour Market Forecast for the next decade, farmers can expect an already tight labour market to get even tighter. According to the council’s survey […] Read more


“Good retention starts with good recruiting. The challenge is finding people who are willing to be there for the right reasons…”

Tapping into a new source of farm workers

Traditional labour supplies are running short. Why that may not be a bad thing

Reading Time: 5 minutes With farms getting bigger and with rural populations getting smaller, it’s no surprise you’re having trouble finding local employees with the farm skills and the experience you want. That doesn’t mean you have no options, however. The solution may be to look beyond candidates with ag experience and to begin to look in other sectors […] Read more

When looking for a mentor, find someone who isn’t too busy and is a good listener.

Want to be a more successful farmer? Find a mentor

How you can harness the power of mentorship

Reading Time: 4 minutes Research shows the five-year survival rate for small and medium enterprises jumps from fewer than half to more than 70 per cent if mentors are involved. That’s according to Virginia McGowan, a certified mentor who witnessed this powerful transformation while running a mentorship program for a group of 70 female entrepreneurs in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The […] Read more


Employees are looking for a role, not just a job, says Curwen, in cap, front row, right.

Grow your people

On a global tour, Nuffield Scholar Reece Curwen finds the top farms always treat employees as an investment, not a cost

Reading Time: 5 minutes At 32, Reece Curwen farms with his family 500 kilometres south of Perth in Western Australia, where the farm produces canola, barley, wheat and sheep on 8,000 hectares. Yet although the farm is so geographically distant from Canada, when it comes to the people management side of farming, it might be right next door. As […] Read more

Sometimes a simple “thank you” can be enough to let a worker know they're appreciated.

Reward positive behaviour

HR Management: If something is supposed to be a reward, it has to feel like one

Reading Time: 4 minutes With a tight labour market, farmers are looking for ways to attract and keep good employees. They naturally turn to incentives and rewards to try to keep employees happy and productive. However, getting it right when it comes to employee incentives is tricky business. “An incentive to one person can be poison to another,” explains […] Read more


Uncivil behaviour frequently occurs when there is a power differential and a mistaken belief that “nice guys finish last.”

How much did that off-colour joke cost you?

More than you probably think, because we all work harder and better in workplaces where we feel respected

Reading Time: 4 minutes If you think those off-colour jokes, sexist comments, or the occasional angry outburst are harmless, you should think again. The research is clear that rude behaviour can hurt your farm’s bottom line. For more than 20 years, Christine Porath, an associate professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., has […] Read more

One way an employer can help employees reduce stress is by permitting flexible work schedules that create a better work-life balance.

A health plan that pays

It makes more and more sense to put your focus on employee health and wellness

Reading Time: 3 minutes Creating a safe, healthy and supportive workplace isn’t just good for your workers — it’s also good for your business. “The health of your workers is tied to the health of your business,” says Jade Reeve, a manager with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC), an Ottawa-based non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource […] Read more


Performance management pays off, says a University of Guelph associate professor. “Research shows it can improve employee performance, productivity and safety.”

The annual performance review

Does it really make sense to put employees and team members through a performance appraisal?

Reading Time: 4 minutes You’re busy, of course, so finding an excuse for not doing annual performance evaluations with employees and team members looks so very tempting. Would it really be so bad if you pushed the reviews onto the back burner? The answer is an unequivocal “yes,” according to Dr. Sara Mann, an associate professor specializing in human […] Read more

When it comes to deciding who to hire or fire, skill is much less important than attitude.

Time to talk: Building teamwork

In this pair of articles, we find all this talk about communication is more than a trend gone wild. It really does pay

Reading Time: 4 minutes When bad farm managers have bad farm teams, they blame bad employees. And sometimes it seems they have a point. I mean, who hasn’t had an employee who never gets down to work, who makes endless mistakes and who constantly gripes with other staff? But the trouble is, ineffective or inexperienced farm managers can’t see […] Read more