Agriculture Risk Advisor: September/October 2018

3 Tips For Hiring Farm Labor

With some farmers struggling to find reliable farm labor, it is important to invest some thought in the hiring process. Here are some tips for finding the right help:

  1. Examine your needs. You might have a general idea in your head of what work needs to be done, but it’s best to be specific. Narrow down broad processes into specific jobs so you can determine how much help you truly need.
  2. Think about desired traits. Do you need someone to fill a temporary need, or are you hoping that person can go on to fill a managerial role? You’ll have to determine whether people skills are more important than manual labor or machinery skills, and list those traits in your job description.
  3. Consider hiring for a trial period. If you’re hesitant about a candidate but need immediate help, consider hiring them for a short-term trial period. This saves you from high employee turnover while buying you time to recognize your needs. It allows both you and the worker to communicate any frustrations and expectations after the trial period before considering whether the working relationship is worth investing in long term.

Newsletter Provided by: Hierl's Property & Casualty Experts

Download the Newsletter

Rise Of Robotics In Farming

Producers are increasingly considering using farming robots to replace human workers who either can’t or aren’t interested in picking crops. Agriculture is a prime market for robotics since it is less regulated than other industries.

Robots Needed To Fill Unwanted Jobs

Farming’s labor crunch is a global problem, and industry experts expect things to get worse in the years to come. Produce growers are struggling to man the fields, and higher wages aren’t persuading people to perform the physically demanding tasks.

According to the Department of Labor, the 2017 median pay for an agricultural worker was $11.41 per hour. In California, farm wages can top $20 per hour. But this is still not enough to attract laborers at a sufficient level.

Advances In Farming Technology

Driscoll’s, one of America’s largest produce distributors, has been testing a robot made by Harvest CROO Robotics, a Florida-based startup. The robot is capable of covering 8 acres in a single day and replacing a team of more than 30 human pickers.

Another emerging farming technology is a “no-touch” vineyard developed by researchers at UC Davis, which waters vines and picks fruit while improving yields, quality and costs. It costs about 7 cents in labor per vine to manage the touchless vineyard, compared to $1 per vine in a conventional vineyard.

Although robotics isn’t expected to steal all of the farming labor jobs, experts believe it could still be a disruptive technology, requiring a change in the way traditional growers operate.


Construction Risk Advisor - August 2018

SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOYING NEW TECHNOLOGY

Choosing new technology can be difficult for construction companies. It is easy to get caught up in the wow factor of technology and lose sight of what you’re hoping it will improve. Without a plan in place for deployment, you may be wasting your investment.

Before seeking out new technology, consider ways you can improve your processes. After improving your processes, you can identify gaps that new technology can address. No amount of technology will help if your processes are what need to be fixed.

There’s strength in numbers, so involve key employees early in the process. This is also a good time to identify potential leaders within your organization.

In fact, a recent McKinsey & Company study found that companies that invest in developing leaders during an organizational transformation are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be successful with their changes than firms that did not make the investment.

Those leaders can become champions for the technology who, in turn, empower the end user and help the technology do what it was intended to do.

Newsletter Provided by: Hierl's Property & Casualty Experts

Download full newsletter

HOW TO ATTRACT MORE WOMEN TO CONSTRUCTION

Women only make up 9 percent of the construction workforce, according to the National Association of Women in Construction. That statistic highlights the fact that both parties are missing out on opportunities for a lucrative partnership within the industry.

Despite the lack of gender diversity, women have the potential to earn about 95.7 percent of what men make. Although it isn’t ideal, it beats the nationwide average of 81.1 percent across all industries.

Construction companies also benefit from hiring a gender-diverse workforce, as they’re 46 percent more likely to outperform the industry average, according to the Peterson Institute. But getting women interested in the industry can be a challenge. Here are steps you can take to attract and retain more women:

  • Create an inclusive work culture that values men and women equally.
  • Remove gender-biased words from job descriptions and involve female employees in the recruitment process.
  • Adopt benefits and work policies that promote a work-life balance and are family-friendly.
  • Create a diversity council with representatives from a mix of genders, positions and backgrounds.

Addressing the gender gap is an important step toward encouraging diverse talent to enter the construction industry. For more information on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, contact Hierl Insurance Inc..