GFM Network News


“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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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


“HR tends to get put on the back burner,” says Jennifer Doelman.

Get professional with your HR

The Doelman family is finding their HR plan is an essential pillar for their farm’s success. You may too

With the current shortage of good labour in the ag industry, putting more effort into HR planning can help you keep your staff, thereby saving the cost and aggravation of recruiting and training new people — if you can find them. Hiring new staff is worse than dating, says Jennifer Doelman, who farms with her […] Read more

If you feel your employee turnover is too high, talk to other farmers with similar-sized farms to see how they compare.

Keep employees on the farm

Do you really know if your employees are thinking of quitting?

Hiring and training the right people is costly, and the last thing you need as you head into the busy season is the added stress of losing a key person. The good news is there is a lot you can do as an employer to keep your staff. Even better, it’s not just about higher […] Read more