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UK and Global Agricultural Recruitment. For Professionals by Professionals

Make the Best of Your People Before Someone Else Does

Tips for Retaining Top Talent

Retaining team members is key for every successful agriculture or agri-food-based company.

Retention is important, not only just for the bottom line, but to build company culture, ensuring your business moves forward. If you believe the key to successful retention relies solely on salary compensation, you may be in for a surprise.

In today's competitive, labour-short marketplace, you must look after your people. Investing in your people to take them and the company forward. Ensuring you are giving as much to them as they are giving back to you.

Aside from compensation, a key element to retaining your top talent, is communication, communication, communication. "If you don't have communication in a business then it ultimately is never going to be successful," says Grace Nugent, General Manager, De Lacy Executive Recruitment.

"It's more than just giving space for people to talk," says Nugent. "You really must to listen to their opinion, ensure that they feel valued, and, taking that a step further -- letting them see the value they add to your business so you can really grow the business together. That is truly how you get people invested in a business for the long term and they become pillars of your company."


Fairness and transparency are also important points for businesses to consider. An open-door policy can be beneficial so that people can really see the inner workings of the business. If the people within your business don't understand what is going on and why certain decisions were made, they simply will not be engaged. Be clear about your business needs and business direction.

"Give your team members the tools, the support, the advice, and ultimately the space to be able to grow within your business," continues Nugent. "That's truly how people nourish and flourish within a business."


Your team members need to feel valued within a business; they need to feel respected, and they need to feel that as an individual, with unique skills and contributions, their contributions are valued.

They need to feel that they are part, not only of a team, but of your company. They understand the values, they understand where the business is going. Team members need to see that their contributions are listened to and helping to move the business forward.

Use Each Team Members Strengths

It is important to understand the strengths of each individual and, as much as possible, to tailor your role to their strengths Nugent advises. Ultimately, that is how you will get the most out of that individual and ensure you're getting maximum buy-in from them and maximum efficiency. "It's a win - win situation once that individual can see the path within your business.

With respect to salary, of course you need to stay competitive with salaries, but you also need to think of ways that you can reward your employees and give back to them suggest Nugent. Can you give them a day off to do charity work? Do you give them a day to be able to spend time with their family? Do you given them a bonus day off for their birthday to show that you care?

Have KPIs and targets reflect what motivates each team members, making targets mutually beneficial. You could have thresholds to really reward those people that are going above and beyond.

You could also introduce company performance bonuses which ensures that in everyone feels part of a team and you're all building towards something together.


Do not underestimate the value of training in your business. Continuous training throughout their career is valued by most employees. It does not have to be one size fits all with training. Some training can be team based, but customized training based on each person's individual needs is also important.

Small Things Matter

Never underestimate the small things you do that have high impact on individuals in your business. For example, coming in each morning and making sure you say hello to every in the office (or department) individually can be very worthwhile.

Spend time with each of your team members as an individual. Nugent says one suggestion that works well with the De Lacy Executive Recruitment is going for a walk together. Taking the time to step away from the office and have a chat can be quite valuable. That chat can still be about business, but it will seem lighter and will help you get to know the person and how they feel.

Ensuring you say thank you to team members, not only to them, but in front of the whole team. Small acts like this give validation to a person, they make them feel valued.

Letting somebody know when they've done a good job is always worthwhile. Whether you are working in-office or virtually, ensure you have a space where all of the team can communicate success and everyone can react to that success and feel part of it.

Nugent says celebrating successes may be different for every individual, as well as for every department. In a business one department may celebrate success differently from another because it better suits the dynamic of that group, but it is the celebration that is important.

Remember, retention is a key element of a successful HR and business plan. It requires planning and resources to succeed.

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