Fun Perks for Employees

The job market is as competitive as it’s ever been. Offering a unique culture and experience can be the perfect draw to your farm. Here are a few fun perks we offer at Roots.

Swim at lunch! We are fortunate to have a swimming pool, and it’s not unusual for half of my crew to be in it during lunchtime. It’s my belief that lunch break is the employee’s time, so why not?  A creek or water trough could serve the same refreshing purpose.

Snacks. Last year we delegated the role of Snack Master to a crew member who makes two of our weekly grocery deliveries. She kept the snack bin full of non-perishable treats, and I was surprised at how much everyone appreciated this inexpensive gesture.  We also keep cold drinks in the cooler that are always up for grabs.

Personality testing and training. We do a staff-wide personality test each spring. It really helps me to get to know my crew and how they will work together. But I’ve also learned that this is a valuable training that everyone can apply to all aspects of their lives.

Bring your mom (or family) to the farm.  Since we’re closed to the public, this is a special thing that only employees can offer to their tribe. I encourage them to show their family the beauty of where they work. If I can be around when they come, it also strengthens relationships to know someone’s family.  

A really good holiday party. Lots of drinks and food, partners, and families invited.  We’ve had to get creative on implementing this over these past two COVID years, but patio heaters and fires made it possible. Making sure everyone has fun, feels appreciated, and that their families understand how much we value them is super important. I either hire a caterer or order catering from a restaurant. This past year we over-ordered food, but I realized that sending people home with leftovers was surprisingly appreciated during hectic holiday seasons. We’ve also had summer employee-appreciation meals or Roots reunions some years.

Schedule Flexibility. There are a few times of year when we cannot be flexible about schedules or time off. I communicate those during interviews. Beyond those intense seasons, I try really hard to give flexibility. We hire many part-time people. Recognizing that they have other commitments and interests and submitting to those schedules can go a long way. A side note: get clear on what’s inflexible or non-negotiable. Do you want people at your farm during evenings or weekends? Is it important to start morning meeting together as a crew? Where can you be flexible vs. where will it cost your business efficiency? 

I love rules and boundaries and clarity. We have lots of them here on the farm. And yet we also strive to be generous and fun whenever possible. Most farming work is not high pay. How can you differentiate yourself as the best employment choice?  

Michelle Elston

Roots Cut Flower Farm

Contact her at [email protected]