In our work with growers across New Zealand, we’ve seen many different approaches to seasonal hiring, but where people are having success, there are a few key things they have in common.
1. Fast turnaround for jobseekers
“People are applying to 10 different places and if you don't hire them quickly, they're going to the person who responds first.” Mark Ballantyne, Finance Manager, Pro Kiwi
The competition for job seekers is tougher than ever this year and keeping on top of applications can be challenging when you have email requests coming in and you are trying to manage applications across many job posting boards.
We’re seeing growers hiring well in advance of their work so that they can secure their workers. The key to this is letting job seekers know where they stand—responding quickly to let them know if they have a job or not, getting the contract signed quickly and keeping in touch about when work will start.
“It gives them confidence that they have gone through to a signed contract and they have a job waiting for them. Whereas previously they were just hanging about and then turning up and hoping for the best.” Gretchen McNally, Owner, Strode Road Orchards
2. Stand out in your industry
Job seekers are scanning many job ads in their search for work, so think about what might help them to choose your job. Here’s a great job ad tip sheet from Summerfruit NZ which you can steal from. You’ll see that the example is clear about the type of work and what’s expected as well as promoting the local area and giving options for transport and accommodation.
3. Sort the paperwork so you can focus on the people
No-one likes it, but you know it needs to be done—gathering bank accounts, IRD numbers, visa details, doing inductions, signing contracts, checking health and safety declarations—the list goes on. And then there is the time you spend on RSE reporting, Global GAP and compliance reporting. Spend some time to streamline these processes so you can get back to focusing on the work that matters.
“We were just wasting so much time to get the workers here. We wanted to be spending that time with the people out training them and picking.” Mark Ballantyne, Finance Manager, Pro Kiwi
4. Know your critical hiring criteria
Get clear on your critical hiring criteria and know how you will assess if job seekers are a good fit for your role.
For most seasonal work, the actual criteria is straight-forward—can the person legally work in NZ, are they available at the right times and are they physically able to do the work.
Overlaying this is their attitude to the work—will they be reliable, will they adhere to quality standards, will they follow instructions? Many growers accept that this will only really be knowable after a few days of work, but we see growers getting early indicators based on whether someone shows up on time for an interview, or if they successfully complete an online application, induction and contract signing process.
5. Hire more than you need
It is relatively common to see drop-off and absentee rates of up to 30-40%. While this is frustrating, many growers simply accept this as part of the nature of the work and will initially hire more than they need as well as continue hiring through the season to top-up the workforce.
Seasonal hiring this year will be tougher than ever and we’re seeing growers start early so they can secure the workers they need. We hope that our top tips will help you to secure the workers you need this season.
If you’d like to take the pain out of seasonal hiring, please explore more about PICMI—how it works and the results our customers have been getting, book a demo with Genevieve or get started hiring online in 15mins with our industry-standard templates.