Sarah Beth Aubrey: Develop a Personnel Pipeline
Agriculture has always adapted to changing technology. Where we lag other industries is in our human capital development.
Training for today’s functions is like putting gas in the car to operate it. Training for future capabilities is like designing a whole new vehicle. One is for now, and one is for the future. Both are essential for your farm.
REACTIVE TO PROACTIVE
I encourage farm leaders to focus less on needs to be filled season-to-season and more on needs in the 24-to-48-month horizon.
A greater focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in primary school means your future generations are not only interested in these areas — they might be far better prepared to lead in these tasks than you are today. Consider that a real benefit.
I believe it is critical for smaller-sized companies, and especially family businesses, to align strategic direction with future talent needs.
An undeveloped talent pipeline poses a greater risk to a company when fewer people are in line for CEO. Your exit strategy and your personnel development pipeline must align.
To get started, think broadly about the idea of talent acquisition in terms of a brief risk assessment that considers the talent pool now and the decisions you have yet to make. Have you done the following key tasks?
- Identified the critical roles for the next 12 to 24 months.
- Assessed emerging roles in the next 24 to 48 months.
- Managed performance and career paths for key employees.
- Identified successors for key employees and leaders.
- Evaluated flight risk and retention strategies to keep key personnel.
Roles at the farm now are different than they were 30 years ago, and the change going forward will blow our minds. There are jobs that don’t even exist that will be integral aspects of future farm management.
With that in mind, there is no need to develop young leaders into functions that might soon be unnecessary.
While you can’t avoid essential training to operate the machinery of today or to plant the crop next season, you also need to look ahead and find ways to prepare your successors and employees for the future.
Sarah Beth Aubrey’s mission is to enhance success and profitability in agriculture by building capacity in people. She provides executive coaching as well as peer group and board facilitation.