Employee turnover is one of the biggest struggles any business has to deal with. For growers, it’s especially difficult. Here are a few ways to limit employee turnover and keep your employees safe and happy.

1. Take the Time to Find the Right Employee

Proper and thorough interviews are the stepping stones to hiring the perfect employee for your farm business. These days, college students are especially eager and hungry for a job. However, that doesn’t mean that their knowledge from their university agriculture classes cut it for the job. Vetting the candidate properly and making sure they are able to do the job they applied for is the second step in hiring the right person. Knowing the right questions to ask is crucial. Do they have the right skill set? Are they prepared for the hours and physical activity needed? Do they fit in with the culture on the farm? What about previous work experience? Asking these questions now will save time and money later if the person is hired but he or she doesn’t work out. Hiring replacements are costlier than you think.

Once hired, that doesn’t mean a supervisor or hiring manager should let them run free. An interview doesn’t take the place of proper training. Training is crucial, no matter how much experience the prospect has had. Continuous training and evaluation will make sure the employee is off to a great start and has the proper training and knowledge they might need to do their jobs properly.

Read more: Scouting for Interns

2. Create a Trustworthy Relationship

Trust is the backbone of any relationship, especially a professional relationship. Being open for conversation and developing a trustworthy relationship will help the employee gain confidence in their employer. Being approachable is another way to develop the relationship. If a supervisor is approachable, their employee will be more apt to talk to them about any problems or concerns they may be having and not keep it bottled up inside. Give respect and respect will be given back to you.

3. Be Mindful of Pay

It’s no secret that the market changes. Be mindful of the minimum pay that is required by the state and what competitors are paying their employees if that information is available. There’s nothing worse than finding that perfect employee but then losing him or her to a competitor because their pay isn’t up to par. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to monitor employment and wages.

4. Motivate and Reward

Motivating employees by the promise of a reward or just positive thoughts go a long way. Rewarding employees by taking them out to lunch, a gift card or even just an Employee of the Month plaque are a few examples. However, rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary. Praising an employee on a job well done goes a long way – and can prevent the employee from feeling unappreciated. Offering benefits such as paid sick days, paid time off and health insurance are other great ways to decrease employee turnover on the farm.

5. Communication is Key

Without communication, running a business would be next to impossible. Keeping an open-door policy and communicating in all aspects of the business is key to being on the same page with fellow supervisors and employees. Provide employees with different means of reaching their managers in case of any question, emergency or just to make sure they understand their role. In a perfect world, every employee would walk straight up to their supervisor and ask them questions and talk to them about their roles. However, that’s not always the case, so having an option of text messaging, emailing or even writing notes without the possibility of getting in trouble is important. This will open up many opportunities for all supervisors and employees to be on the same page, regardless of how they want to communicate about it.

Read more: The Key to Employee Success