THE BIG growth curve lot feeding has found itself on as demand for high quality Australian grain-fed beef grows globally will require a number of things to line up for those on the ground running operations.
Not-the-least will be the ability to attract, and retain, workers in an industry where competition for labour is red hot and long-entrenched shortages have been exacerbated by COVID.
The feedlot sector has been on the front foot, building an innovative careers and training online platform aimed at growing its workforce capacity.
Launched last week at the Australian Lot Feeders' Association virtual conference, Feedlot TECH showcases the many career, employment and professional development opportunities available in the sector. It also provides access to feedlot-specific core training.
However, training for training's sake is not going to cut the mustard.
The importance of having a plan in place to ensure investments in people pay off was outlined at the ALFA conference, called SmartBeef Bites.
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ALFA's feedlot career development and training project manager Caela Dye said successful companies, of any size, say staff are their greatest asset.
"Reliable, skilled and dedicated staff are irreplaceable," she said.
"They are also the face of your business, your brand ambassadors.
"We work in a highly specialised and skilled industry with precise margins and all businesses are seeking tools that help their bottom line. Investing in staff is a smart business move."
Research has shown replacing an employee can cost up to 30 per cent of a worker's annual salary, Ms Dye said.
Studies have also shown 94pc of people are more likely to stay at a company longer if there is investment in their development.
Often, business managers talk about the risk of costs incurred from training people who might leave but Ms Dye said instead the question should be 'what if we train them and they stay?'.
The benefits are great, and they exist not just for individual businesses but for the whole feedlot sector, she said.
To have a future in feedlotting, organisations need to be prepared to not only allow, but to facilitate, growth opportunities for staff.
But every investment should be planned and relevant and Ms Dye suggested three steps were involved.
They are: defining internal systems, priorities and expectations; committing to long term career planning and selecting training that directly serves an organisation's priorities.
"If you're going to invest in training, be confident it shapes the business and staff in the direction you want to go," Ms Dye said.
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The story Training for training's sake won't fix ag's labour shortage first appeared on Farm Online.