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7 Reasons Your Best Employees Quit

Sara Schafer

December 22, 2020

Learn how to avoid these frustrating and deal-breaking mistakes

Yes, recruiting members for your team is extremely difficult. But before you spend your time and energy on that challenge, focus first on your current team.

“Put retention in front of recruiting,” suggests Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, a human resource consulting firm. “Become a place that people want to work, and then when people hear you have an opening, they come to you.”

How do you prioritize retention? Analyze why employees leave your farm. Many times, their departures fall into these categories.

1. Substandard Co-Workers: “The good employees aren't paid enough to cover for or put up with the hiring mistakes,” Kleiman says. Don’t force your good employees to compensate for others who are lazy, indifferent or undependable.

2. Mind-Numbing Tasks: New employees are often handed boring and repetitive jobs. Even in downtimes, come up with meaningful work, suggests Erika Osmundson, director of marketing and communications for Find ways to make roles on your farm fun or challenging.

3. No Attention or Authority: “When a supervisor is so busy fighting the fires created by problem employees, he or she never has any time for his best people,” Kleiman says. Many times, this busy leader also fails to delegate authority to capable employees, leaving those employees frustrated.

4. No Training: Forgot that often-repeated phrase that training is not a good investment because "they'll leave in three months anyway." Establish an ongoing training plan, suggests Wesley Tucker, University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist. “Utilize multiple methods to ensure employees absorb and retain critical information,” he says. “Look for opportunities for both formal and spontaneous training.”

5. No Chance for Advancement: Do you share insights about future opportunities or positions? Recognize how advancements drive retention and job satisfaction. “A lot of times, we hire young people and think they are great,” says Dave Allen, president of Agri-Search, a placement firm for agricultural jobs. “So, you let them go do their thing. But, if you forget about them, they will be gone in two years.”

6. Lack of Respect: Employees need positive recognition, Kleiman says. “Praise in public and criticize in private,” he says. Many times, supervisors avoid positive feedback for fear the recipient might ask for a raise – this is the wrong approach.

7. Scheduling Conflicts: When an employer promises "flexible hours," but it turns out "flexible hours" means having to work whenever and however long the manager wants them to, good employees look for the exit door. “Structure work schedules to allow for flexibility,” Osmundson suggests. “Maybe you can work shortened hours during certain parts of the year. Look for unique ways you can offer flexibility.”


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