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We asked our top dairy clients to share their advice on recruitment and staff retention! Some of the largest dairy units in the UK have the best practices when it comes to staffing and we wanted to share some knowledge with you.

Setting a dairy role apart from the rest in industry:

Competition for the best staff within the dairy industry is extremely high, the situation at the moment is that there are more vacancies than qualified people. This means that candidates have more choice and power, leaving the employer with the increasingly difficult task of attracting applications and selling the role to candidates. Here are a few ways you can make your role stand out from the crowd;

  • Focus your job description on what the candidate gains from the position rather than vice versa.
  • Set your pay above industry average and overtime at, at least time and a half.
  • Include company culture, your mission statement and positive points about your farm history in the job description.
  • Be sure to highlight future progression/training opportunities early on in the job description.
  • Use a  photo of your farm as a visual aid to attract more views of your listing.
  • Social media is a very powerful tool; use it to share your vacancy to a wider audience in farming and job groups.


Retaining staff on a dairy unit:

Lack of progression on dairy farms is indeed one of the main reasons for staff leaving, alongside low pay rates. This is a very difficult issue to resolve but there are steps that you can take.The reality is that at some point your staff may well outgrow positions eventually, which is why it is best to accept and plan ahead for this. Here are some things to consider when planning your staff structure;

  • It is much easier to recruit a passionate individual with no experience who is eager to learn.
  • It is better for your business to employ passionate hard working individual with less experience than a highly skilled person with less motivation and passion.
  • Each member of your milking team should be at a different stage in their career. When the most experienced person leaves, the other team members can each take a step up. You then need only replace the lowest skilled employee and your team feels like they are progressing.
  • As team members step up their skills and responsibilities, their pay should increase accordingly.
  • Offer paid training and shadowing days for lower skilled employees to learn from your best herdsman; especially if that is you! You can use the extra muscle whilst they learn new skills.
  • Listen to your existing staff! Keep a good line of communication, have regular discussions about how they are feeling about the efficiency of on farm processes. Do they have any suggestions for how your business can be improved?
  • People need to feel valued at work, they need to see that you are willing to make changes to keep them interested and invested in your business.


Do you have advice you would like to share with others in the industry? Have you tried and tested some of the advice above and want to tell us about the ups and downs? You can talk to us at .