; Improving First-line Supervision to Reduce Human Resource, Legal, and Production Risks | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Improving First-line Supervision to Reduce Human Resource, Legal, and Production Risks

Howard Rosenberg


As employers who depend heavily on hired workers, agricultural business operators in California face risks of labor shortage at critical times, poor quality work lowering product value and raising costs, labor law violations bringing fines and embarassment, conflicts leading to litigation and damage awards, workplace injuries hurting employees and boosting insurance rates, and unwanted turnover and absenteeism raising other indirect costs. The performance of first-line supervisors (aka foremen, crew leaders, mayordomos) is key to operational efficiency and control of all these risks. Few if any supervisors bring to their positions the mix of knowledge, abilities, and skills needed to deal effectively with relevant physical, logistical, regulatory, and personal factors. Many producers have sought education that would help those they employ to grow on the job as members of the management team.

With support from the WCRME, a team from AgSafe, UC Cooperative Extension, and the CSU Fresno Center for Agricultural Business has created the Agricultural Supervision Development Program (ASDP) and presented it in five regions during 2008. The ASDP is designed not only to build understanding and abilities of individual supervisors but also to strengthen communication across levels of management in participating companies. It has two complementary parts: (1) a two-day short course, in Spanish, for supervisors who are directly responsible for the work of production employees, and (2) an afternoon seminar, in English, for middle or upper-level managers who rely on these supervisors and make decisions affecting their functions. In both sessions, emphasis is placed on practical application of new ideas and tools are provided to facilitate continuing communication between supervisors and managers.