; Managing Human Resources on Farms: Lessons Learned During Six Years of Assessment and Programming | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Managing Human Resources on Farms: Lessons Learned During Six Years of Assessment and Programming

Vera Bitsch


Human Resource Management (HRM) is historically a neglected area in farm management research and extension. Programs are often derived from research in other industries, popular writings, and textbooks, or based on educators own assessment of what is needed and appropriate. This presentation reports on results of a number of agricultural HRM studies, the development of educational workshops, and lessons learned through the course of six years of programming in HRM for agricultural managers. Studies include three focus group projects consisting of 15 focus group discussions (5 horticultural groups, 4 dairy groups, 6 pork groups) between 2001 and 2005 and a number of case studies conducted in 2003 (6 dairy farms, 4 greenhouse growers, 6 tree nurseries, and 4 landscape operations). Analysis of the rich data collected in these studies has resulted in several peer-reviewed publications, and still continues. Between 2001 and 2006 the author conducted multiple kinds of HRM training and education programs both individually and with different teams. HRM programs ranged from less than 30 minutes to multiple days in time commitment, from lecture-style presentations to interactive workshops and group discussions, from web-based publications to individual face-to-face sessions. Issues addressed ranged from traditional HRM topics, such as recruitment and selection, training, performance evaluation, compensation, discipline and termination, and labor law to specific aspects of performance management, such as communication, motivation, conflict management, dealing with adverse working condition, and managing immigrant employees, which are less likely to be addressed in general programs.

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