HR Best Practices – Week 2

As we noted in the series launch, human resource activities fall into six core silos that every farm business should manage:

  • Recruitment and Hiring
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employee Relations
  • Training and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Labour Legislation Compliance

Week 2 – Compensation and Benefits:

The local labour market is highly competitive.  By compensating your workers fairly and providing other benefits, you improve your ability to attract and retain the reliable skilled workers you need to keep your business productive and profitable.

Understanding and complying with federal and provincial employment standards protects your business from legal issues and fines.  Beyond meeting your legal obligations, you can offer compensation and benefits to keep your employees committed and engaged.

Look beyond standard benefits – An employee health and dental insurance plan is standard for full-time employees.  Pension or RRSP matching is also significant and many employees value training and development opportunities.  Consider other perks like transportation or vehicle use, providing a cell phone, or free food or product.  For part-time or seasonal employees consider an end-of-season bonus or incentive based on performance.  Be sure to get professional advice on whether benefits are taxable so you can deduct the appropriate taxes when you calculate payroll.

Culture – Develop a strategy and make sure it aligns with your business values and culture.  If having committed team players is important, providing workers with branded clothing or swag can increase their sense of pride and belonging.  Treating workers to coffee and donuts, having a pizza party occasionally, or off-farm social activities can show appreciation and be team building.

Review your plan – Your farm’s compensation and benefits strategy should be fluid.  Periodically reviewing your plan will help your farm stay on top as an employer of choice and increase productivity and profitability by retaining workers and reducing turnover.

The CAHRC HR Toolkit has a module that dives deeper into types of pay and what to pay, or contact the AgSector Program at for guidance.