Business AdvisoryAgriBusiness

Positioning your agribusiness for success in a tight labour market

Amy Hamilton
1 September 2022
4 min read

01 September 2022

Increasing competition in the current labour market means it's getting harder to fill agriculture jobs in New Zealand. In this market, prioritising the job satisfaction of your employees is not only necessary – it’s a vital asset to the ongoing sustainability of your agribusiness.

To recruit and retain talent in the current market, people in agribusiness management roles should be focusing their attention on building and maintaining a reputable culture and assessing their working conditions. Do this well and, in return, you can expect well-managed employees who feel respected, which helps improve staff retention, creates better on-the-job performance and builds a better overall employer/employee relationship.

A few areas to evaluate frequently are:

Documentation for agribusiness employees

Working in New Zealand agriculture requires documentation and good employment documentation should be comprehensive as this helps ensure both parties are aware of their obligations and are compliant from a legal perspective.

Documentation for agribusiness employees should include, at a minimum:

  • Employment contract.

  • Job description.

  • Health and safety policy.

To enhance your agribusiness recruitment, any specific policies that help to set expectations, including clear remuneration package details and other benefits of your agribusiness, will help to provide a clear framework for prospective employees and can be referred to if any confusion arises.

Accommodation requirements for agribusiness employees

If you are providing employees with a place to live, you will normally enter into a 'service tenancy' agreement, which means you are providing accommodation for that employee only because of their work.

Service tenancy agreements are covered by the same rules that apply to a typical landlord tenant relationship, apart from a couple of minor exceptions regarding rent and the ending of the tenancy. Recent changes to New Zealand landlord responsibilities place an even higher obligation on agribusiness employers to provide accommodation.

The standard of accommodation conditions can sometimes be a deal breaker when recruiting for employees so, consider an annual plan to factor in any developments or enhancements to the property.

Workplace flexibility

Encouraging a healthy work/life balance is important to employee and employer wellbeing. Particularly in farming, providing opportunities for employees to engage in “off farm” activities is important to help with mental and physical health.


Understanding how people communicate is an important step in enhancing any employment relationship. A clear communication process will help make sure both your agribusiness management and employees understand expectations.

In conjunction with this, developing strong communication processes assists employees to work more efficiently and helps mitigates mistakes and the requirement for re-work to be done.

Annual reviews for agribusiness employees

A routine annual review of employees by your agribusiness management provides an opportunity for goals to be assessed, any issues to be addressed, and for good performance to be recognised and rewarded.

There should be some formal documentation about the review process, key goals, and measures so that this can be monitored and reflected on. An annual review should also include a remuneration review to stay up to date with the competitive market.

Agribusiness employee turnover and recruitment for new employees can be costly, so it is vital for you to provide necessary employee resources to be the best employer you can be.

With over 40 years of agribusiness expertise in New Zealand and more than 20,000 clients across most agribusiness sectors, Findex has deep, personalised expertise throughout the agricultural supply chain. Our Partners combine accounting and business advisory skills with hands on experience and offer a unique breadth of services, including tax advisory, internal audit, risk insurance and wealth management to meet all your financial needs in one place. To see how we can help your agribusiness, get in touch with us today.

Author: Amy Hamilton | Associate Partner - Business Advisory

Having grown up in Central Hawke’s Bay, Amy has a strong community commitment. Currently dairy farming with her husband in Ashley Clinton, Amy has a strong rural understanding that ensures clients are receiving up-to-date, practical advice that will help farmers run and grow their operations.