- Referral: You can get this by talking to fellow farmers and in the process, a good worker may be referred to you.
- Don’t poach workers from other farms because this can cause disharmony among farmers.
- Prisoners: This is a big resource for daily farm labour. However, this can only apply to farms that are located near Prisons. Furthermore, while prisoners are effective labourers, they cannot manage your farm because they do not stay there.
- Hire a manager and allow him source a few workers. Some managers have got their own workers and when you hire them, they will come with them. Of course, a professional farm manager is relatively expensive. If you cannot hire a professional, then make sure you train your workers by sending them to similar farms and workshops.
- Look for village workers around the farm. It is common to see workers from the south-west working on farms in the central region. However, after hiring workers, you need to train them. You can do this by taking them to exhibitions or to other farms that are engaging similar enterprises.
How to retain workers
After hiring workers, one way of keeping them on the farm is to make them feel part of it. You can do this by:
- Sharing your farm vision with them; this will make them human workers, rather than robots since they will be working with a clear vision. Tell them the objectives of the farm and how they fit in.
- Write an agreement and clear scope of work: This will reduce cases of unfulfilled tasks since each worker knows what they are supposed to do.
- Know your workers: If you are hiring from a tribe that is not yours, learn a few things about the culture and behaviour of that tribe.
- Understand that each person has weaknesses and strengths. Build on these to make your workers effective.
- Refer to people by name not position: This is an age old tactic that is always rewarded with loyalty. When you call a worker by their name, they know you care about them and this improves confidence and boosts morale.
- Build a conducive environment: this includes housing and sanitation facilities. Set up entertainment too, for example, there are farm owners who installed pay TV for the workers in order to stop them from going out of the farm to watch football. These look like expensive ventures, but they help keep workers on the farm.
- Allowing wives or husbands of workers to either visit or stay at the farm. This may look disruptive in the short run, however, when you look at it further, it is actually less disruptive than a farm worker who wants to leave the farm in order to go and visit his or her spouse. In many cases, these spouses have turned into extra unpaid workers on the farm.
- Accept and value feedback from workers, as long as it is geared towards building the farm.
- As a person, you must also be passionate about your farm and the workers will follow your passion.
- Listen, accept mistakes, but also encourage openness among workers
- Carry out a constructive disciplinary process and never show sides in case of any altercation among workers. When they perform well, make sure that you praise them. If you give them tasks, evaluate them regularly to see if they are meeting targets.