Five ways to keep your workforce returning year after year

Monday, 10 December 2018

Chris Rose, Management Consultant and fruit specialist, provides five top tips that could help retain your seasonal labour and encourage workers to return to your business next year.

In a drought, we conserve water by mending leaks, irrigating wisely and prioritising key areas. In a period of reduced labour availability, we must also conserve resources.

The big picture is that UK horticulture must become more attractive than other countries and other manual work. Your piece of the jigsaw is to ensure that your business is more attractive than others, so that workers come, stay, thrive and spread the word. Many businesses have increased their proportion of returnees and also encourage returning workers to bring a relative or friend.

To thrive and keep workers returning year after year, the top businesses will:

  1. Provide very good, uncrowded accommodation and facilities
  2. Provide plenty of work – enough hours and overtime opportunities and few or no slack periods
    • If you have a short or peaky season, could you lend out labour to other businesses to ensure workers stay happy and employed?
  3. Employ supervisors who give excellent training to competence, followed by coaching to excellence 
  4. Offer the opportunity to earn very well when the right attitude is combined with conditioning and experience
  5. Set clear rules and boundaries and consistently enforce the disciplinary process for deliberate transgressors
    • Businesses that bend over backwards to be friendly, but don’t explain and consistently enforce rules, are less successful. They tend to have far more employment issues and a lower level of worker satisfaction

Chris Rose was speaking to AHDB as part of the SmartHort campaign to increase labour productivity in UK horticulture. You can also read about why Chris Rose believes introducing Champion pickers to your business could help increase your labour efficiency, here.