Tips to Attract Workers to Remote and Rural Areas

December 2015

Recruiting qualified staff to take on roles in remote or rural areas is a challenge that’s faced on a regular basis by many companies in agribusiness. After all, farming happens in the country, and our industry provides the products and services that help farmers!

Candidates often raise concerns regarding the potential upheaval in their personal and family lives. Though there are often significant issues to overcome when recruiting senior talent to remote locations, there are steps that can be taken to ensure a successful and efficient process. They involve promotion of brand, leadership, work environment and community.

Develop an employer brand- this goes beyond benefits and salaries. While compensation has often been the focus of what people thought would be a major driver, surveys show that the number one driver for candidates is working environment- including things like room for advancement, location, flexibility in hours, work-life balance, ethics and honesty, training and development. As many as 60% of respondents ranked working environment first and foremost, above compensation.

Review the local market- knowing the landscape of the local employment market will determine whether there are potential candidates already residing in the region.

Know the candidate’s career aspirations and personal requirements- it’s essential to be thoroughly aware of viable candidates in terms of their career goals, family status, lifestyle and personal preferences. It helps to establish a personal rapport.

Emphasize the career opportunity- highlight the aspects of the position that may offer the candidate career growth and upward potential, greater responsibility, the chance to work with a highly reputed employer, the advantage of working at a company’s head office, better compensation, the ability to transfer to other locations within the company, and so on.

Research and promote the location- describe to the candidate key rural lifestyle aspects such as the lower cost of living, local attractions, the environment around them, arts and culture, a friendlier community, schooling, recreational facilities, clubs, ease of access and transportation, and proximity to major metropolitan areas. It is vital that the hiring manager perform sufficient research prior to starting the recruiting process. Discussions with local chambers of commerce, tourism boards and real estate brokers can help.

Involve family members- it is critical that the hiring manager remain aware of the level of support from valued family members of the candidate. It’s recommended that the spouse be invited to visit the location in order to gain familiarity and comfort with the community. (With excerpts from Dan Ovsey- National Post 1/22/13 and Richard Wajs- The Globe and Mail 1/23/14)

Watch future issues of the AgStep Recruiting Update for more steps to turn your talent attraction and retention into a more strategic process.