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Essentials—Tips and resources

Once you've used our 12-step checklist to identify areas where you could save time and money in your seasonal hiring, use the links below to check out our tips and resources on that topic.

We're building up this library of resources for growers, so if you've got tips you want to share, please let us know and we'll add them in.

Check out our tips and resources to help you save time and money

Attract:

1.    How Many & When

2.    Returning Workers

3.    Job Ads & Boards

4.    Applications

Assess:

5.    Key Criteria

6.    Filtering

7.    Eligibility

8.    Responses

Onboard:

9.    Contract

10. Induction

11. Compliance

12. Payroll & Other Systems

ATTRACT

01.

How Many & When

How clear are you on which roles you'll need, how many people for each role and the rough start/end dates?

Check out our blog on forecasting and tracking for seasonal workers. We share what we've learned from working with growers across New Zealand.

 

We set out:

  • why forecasting and tracking are useful

  • top tips to help you get the numbers sorted, and

  • step-by-step instructions to get you started with our free forecasting and tracking template which is specifically designed for seasonal hiring.

02.

Returning Workers

How easy is it for you to contact your past workers and get them signed up again?

Did you know that growers can lock in workers up to 5 months in advance? It gives certainty for you, and certainty for your workers. And we’ve seen growers secure over 60% of their workforce from their pool of returning workers. 

 

Check out our blog on 3 best ways to lock in returning seasonal workers to find the way that works best for you.


Consider using an email campaign to significantly reduce the time and effort involved in securing returing workers. Check out our email campaign templates and how-to guides.

03.

Job Ads & Boards

How up-to-date and compelling are your job ads? Does your job stand out from the crowd? Are you using all the available job boards and places to promote your jobs?

To see what a great job ad looks like, check out this job vacancy example by Summerfruit NZ.

 

If you want to find out how many working holiday makers are in NZ, check out our stats and analysis of Working Holiday Visa applications and workers in NZ this summer. This is updated monthly, so subscribe to our newsletter to get updates to your inbox.

 

Consider how job seekers will compare your job to other jobs. FAQs and short videos can help to answer common questions and give people an idea of what it will be like to work with you. For examples, check out these FAQs from Southern Cross Horticulture and this video, One Day of Orchard Life, from Strode Road Orchards.

 

In terms of where to promote your job ads, the answer is everywhere! Make sure you’re on picknz, backpacker boards and local information centre job boards. Your website should make it easy to find job information and your Facebook and Instagram postings should advertise the roles and give people a sense of what it’s like to work with your business. Physical signs still work too—whether that is a sign outside your orchard (with a QR code linking to your job ads) or a billboard on a main local road. 

 

Remember, word of mouth is very powerful. So when you’re contacting those returning workers, make sure to ask them to invite others or pass on the job ads.

04.

Applications

How easy is it for job seekers to apply for your jobs? Are all the questions still needed? And how easy is it for you to track and process all the applications?

Review the questions you’re asking a job seeker to complete. What is the critical information you need from them in order to make the decision to hire? If they don’t meet your core criteria, there is no point in asking the person to provide IRD and bank details for instance.

 

Application forms need to be online so job seekers can complete them from anywhere, anytime. Consider Google Forms or a contact form on your website if you’re taking the first step online.

 

Review the different ways that you receive applications (emails, phone calls, text messages, online forms, job boards etc). Can you direct job seekers so that they all come through one channel eg. your online form? This way you'll have all the applications in one place.

How many and when
Returning workers
Job Ads & Boards
Applications
01.

How Many & When

How clear are you on how many workers you will need—for which roles and their rough start/end dates?

Check out our blog on forecasting and tracking for seasonal workers. It sets out why forecasting and tracking are useful, offers top tips that you can use with others in your business and step-by-step instructions to get started with our free template.

02.

Returning Workers

How easy is it for you to contact your past workers and get them signed up again?

Did you know that growers can lock in workers up to 5 months in advance? Certainty for you, and certainty for your workers. And we’ve seen growers secure over 60% of their workforce from returning workers. 

 

Check out our blog on 3 best ways to lock in returning seasonal workers to find the way that works best for you.


Using an email campaign to secure returning workers reduces the time and effort involved. Check out our email campaign templates and how-to guides.

03.

Job Ads & Boards

How up-to-date and compelling are your job ads? Does your job stand out from the crowd? Are you using all the available job boards and places to promote your jobs?

To see what a great job ad looks like, check out this job vacancy example by Summerfruit NZ.

 

If you want to find out how many working holiday makers are in NZ, check out our stats and analysis of Working Holiday Visa applications and workers in NZ this summer. This is updated monthly, so subscribe to our newsletter to get updates to your inbox.

 

Consider how job seekers will compare your job to other jobs. FAQs and short videos can help to answer common questions and give people an idea of what it will be like to work with you. For examples, check out these FAQs from Southern Cross Horticulture and this video, One Day of Orchard Life, from Strode Road Orchards.

 

In terms of where to promote your job ads, the answer is everywhere! Make sure you’re on picknz, backpacker boards and local information centre job boards. Your website should make it easy to find job information and your Facebook and Instagram postings should advertise the roles and give people a sense of what it’s like to work with your business. Physical signs still work too—whether that is a sign outside your orchard or a billboard on a main local road. 

 

Remember, word of mouth is very powerful so when you’re contacting those returning workers, make sure to ask them to invite others or pass on the job ads.

04.

Applications

How easy is it for job seekers to apply for your jobs? Are all the questions still needed (shorter is better)? And how easy is it for you to track and process them?

Review the questions you’re asking a job seeker to complete. What is the critical information you need from them in order to make the decision to hire? If they don’t meet your core criteria, there is no point in the person also providing IRD and bank details for instance.

 

Application forms need to be online so job seekers can complete them from anywhere, anytime. Consider Google Forms or a contact form on your website if you’re taking the first step online.

 

Review the different ways that you receive applications (emails, phone calls, online form, job boards etc). Can you direct job seekers so that they all come through one channel eg. your online form? This way you have all the applications in one place.

ASSESS

05.

Key Criteria

How clear are you on the key criteria that are must-haves for a worker? The first two are generally being legally able to work in NZ and physically able to do the job. Any others?

The clearer you are on the key criteria for hiring, the faster your decision-making and the faster you will be able to secure workers.

 

Think of these key criteria as your show-stoppers. What would stop you from hiring someone?

 

These key criteria should be at the start of your application and if the job seeker doesn’t meet these, they should not be able to continue the application.

 

The most common key criteria are:

  • Legally able to work in NZ

  • Physically able to do the job

  • Needs own transport

06.

Filtering

How clear are you on other ways to filter out candidates? For example, checking their availability and assessing their attitude and willingness to work?

Seasonal hiring is different to standard hiring because it is less about ‘is this the right person for the job?’ and more about ‘we need 20 people tomorrow!’

And you will often be hiring more people than you need because of drop-offs—whether it is no-shows or the drop-offs in the first few weeks.

 

So if someone meets the key criteria (above), you are very likely to offer them a job.

 

However, if your business receives more applications than you need workers, think about the ways that you can quickly filter them to check their fit.

 

Checking someone’s availability is a common way to filter out candidates (start/end dates). 

 

Think about how you are assessing attitude and willingness to work. Some growers determine this through email/txt exchange or phone/in-person interviews ie. were they punctual, do they seem interested? Other growers hold the view that if the person meets the criteria and completes the application/contract as needed, then that is enough to offer them a role and the rest is determined once the person is on the job.

07.

Eligibility

How easy is it for you to check people’s legal eligibility to work in NZ? Is it stored in a way that is easy to check when needed?

You’ll be aware that it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that an employee can work for them legally*. 


It is not mandatory to use Visaview, but this can be an easy way to check a person’s visa, conditions and date of expiry. And the record of your check can be used as evidence of compliance in an audit.

08.

Responses

How quickly do you respond to job seekers to let them know if they have a job or not? Are you missing out on workers?

The challenge of finding seasonal workers increases each year. Yet, here is the craziness that happens. Job seekers often report that they are applying for jobs but don’t hear back. And growers report that they follow up on applications only to find that the person has taken another job!

 

The fact is that job seekers will apply for multiple jobs and then take a role with the grower who responds first.


Check out our blog for more on the importance of responding quickly and tips on how to increase your responsiveness so you can secure more workers.

Key Criteria
Filtering
Eligibility
Responses

ONBOARD

09.

Contract

How easy is it to update contracts for different workers? How easy is it for workers to understand and sign the contract?

Having a repeatable way of adding the right details to your employment agreements will pay off in time—and frustration—savings.

 

For seasonal work, there are usually at least 6 pieces of information that can change in each contract—worker’s name, job title, job description, pay rate, location and start/end dates. 

 

If you’re using printed contracts that you hand-write on, think about moving these change-able items to the first page to make it easy to add them and check them. 

 

If you’re using MS Word, consider using a mail merge to auto-populate the items into each contract.

 

Check your contracts to make sure they are easy to understand and that areas where there are frequent questions (eg. pay rates) are obvious. HortNZ provides a sample employment agreement that uses plain English and has clear sections for important information.


Consider using electronic signatures in your contracts to save time in the back-and-forth (and save paper!). For information about electronic signatures, how they work and the benefits—check out our FAQs on eSignatures in employment agreements.

10.

Induction

How easy is it to get workers across all of your induction materials—who’s who, health and safety, training etc?

When thinking about induction, you can think about what, how and when:

  • What do they need to know?

  • How can that info best be communicated?

  • When do they need to know it?

 

Look for opportunities to put materials online (eg. on your website) so workers can access them in their own time. Many growers are also creating short videos which is a great way to communicate a lot of information in a short time. 

 

If you’re in kiwifruit, check out Zespri’s KiwiPointers materials - videos, posters and slides that you can use.

 

Think about what can be done before they arrive on-site and what is best to happen in person (eg. meeting their manager, learning their way around etc).

 

Also think about how your time is best used for inductions. Can you have two main start dates where people arrive in groups so that you are not repeating the content every day?

11.

Compliance

How easy is it for you to provide the information that would be required in an audit?

In the rush and with the high volumes of people being hired around this time, it can be easy to end up with piles of paper or files stored in many different places.

 

Spend a bit of time before you begin the next round of hiring to review where and how you (and others) are storing worker documentation and details. This will pay off when you need to answer queries (from workers or from your team) as well as obviously in any audit.

12.

Payroll & Other Systems

How easy is it to get correct bank accounts, IRD details, phone numbers etc into your other business systems such as payroll and timesheeting?

Growers tell us how frustrating it can be to have to chase up incorrect worker details and to manually type information into multiple systems like payroll and timesheeting.

 

The first improvement step from being paper-based is to have one document where information is stored that you copy and paste into other systems. This improves accuracy and saves time. (See this video for tips and shortcuts with Excel.)

 

You could also contact your technology providers to investigate whether there is a way of sharing information electronically (this is called integration) between your systems. So you would enter the data into payroll and it would be automatically shared into your timesheeting system.

 

Having an online tool where workers enter their own data which is validated and then automatically passed onto your business systems, means that this whole problem disappears.

*Disclaimer: The information in this site is not legal advice on employment in New Zealand. Please make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to ensure you are compliant with NZ employment law.

Contract
Induction
Compliance
Payroll & Other Systems
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Or if you want to just skip all that

Give us 30mins of your time for a seasonal hiring consult. We'll explore your specific challenges and show you how PICMI can leapfrog your seasonal hiring to the next level. 

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Speed up the process of hiring seasonal workers by up to 70% and only pay when job seekers sign a contract. You can be hiring online with our industry-standard templates in just 10 minutes.

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