Finding the right talent is one thing, but keeping top talent is another. Organizations across all industry sectors have seen an increased need to look at and focus on programs that help retain top performers, particularly in agriculture where the talent pool falls short of job demand.

In a survey by AgCareers.com, agribusinesses indicated that they primarily used bonuses (80%), followed by training and development (76%), and promotion (63%) to motivate employees to stay productive and engaged in their roles. 

Retention can encompass a variety of strategies, from competitive compensation and benefits, to the nature of the work, to reward systems, to performance management and beyond.  Whatever you identify as components of your retention program, a defined plan that focuses on keeping top talent can provide a significant return on investment for your operation.

Here are nine strategies that don’t cost much and can yield a great return.

1.       Make sure employees understand their job and what is expected of them.

2.       Be sure they have the tools necessary to be successful at their job.

3.       Ensure employees know to whom they report and others from whom they can get assistance.

4.       Provide feedback to employees, both positive and constructive, on a frequent basis.

5.       Build a relationship with employees that is respectful and supportive.

6.       Promote a positive image of the organization and build a recognizable brand through positive experiences.

7.       Explain how they and their job fit into the operation’s overall objectives.

8.       Reward for good performance -- remember verbal recognition goes a long way! 

9.       Handle problems quickly and fairly.

For retention to be effective, make sure these nine strategies happen quickly upon hiring, are repeated frequently, and remain a part of your managers’ daily activities! 

Editor’s Note: Erika Osmundson is director of marketing communications for AgCareers.com For more information on hiring and retaining employees, email agcareers@agcareers.com. The 2016 Ag & Food HR Roundtable, examined recruitment and retention specifically within agriculture and the food industry.