Greenhouse Canada

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Greenhouses facing labour challenges

Retaining good employees

November 1, 2017  By Dave Harrison

November 2017 – Last month we talked about the looming labour challenge in agriculture, and in particular in the greenhouse sector. The shortage has been identified by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) in its report, Agriculture 2025: How the Sector’s Labour Challenges Will Shape its Future.”

The report notes the gap between labour demand and domestic supply has doubled from 30,000 to 59,000 over the past decade, and the projection for 2025 is a shortfall of 114,000 jobs, including 27,000 anticipated in the greenhouse, nursery and floriculture sector.

Good managers know that finding employees addresses only part of the problem. The bigger challenge is keeping good employees.


“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace,” said Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell’s Soup.

Money is not the biggest motivator for many workers.

“Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company,” said Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman and motivational speaker.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability,” observed Anne M. Mulcahy, former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation.

There are non-monetary incentives that are critical in any workplace. Good managers employ these regularly. It can be as simple as sincerely recognizing a job well done. Employees sometimes stay late, come in early, or go above and beyond on a project. To have that acknowledged by a “thank you for a job well done” comment from a supervisor – it’s got to be done in person; an email or text message doesn’t cut it – goes a long way towards greater job satisfaction. And it doesn’t cost anything.

This month’s cover story is on our Top 10 Under 40 award winners. All have enjoyed considerable success in their careers and all share a great passion for their careers. They’re motivators and innovators. Most are involved in continuing education programs or are regular attendees at industry workshops. They have a great need to know more and to grow more in their careers. They make things happen at work and in the industry, and as I discovered in talking with them, they’re having a lot of fun doing it.

“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.” – Anne M. Mulcahy.

Addendum: Just a correction to an acronym in our October 2017 story, “The Latest on Light (pg 34). NSERC, of course, is the “Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.” We had incorrectly referred to it as the “National Research Council.” Our sincere apologies for this editing error.

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