New Zealand’s best young farmers to get payroll boost

7th July, 2017

The best young farmers are currently being tested on their agricultural and farm management skills – but for many rural businesses the main pain point lies beyond the top paddock.

Taking place this week in the mighty Manawatu is the Grand Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year – where seven of New Zealand’s best farmers are being tested across an action-packed three days.

As a proud sponsor of Young Farmers, we’ll be testing out the finalists’ abilities when it comes to keeping on top of their payroll.

They’ll be tasked with setting up new employees and then running a pay in MYOB Essentials to test their skills.

While seeing rugged farmers staring at a laptop screen may be an odd sight, we know that payroll pain is among the top pain points suffered by agricultural businesses.

In fact, according to out MYOB Business Monitor research*, 75 percent of all employers tell us that payroll is challenging.

Agribusinesses also have many other challenges when it comes to being a great employer from: finding great staff; managing seasonal workers; record keeping; and staying on top of Health and Safety and IR compliance.

While we have plenty of resources available for NZ employers to keep on top of business, managing employee performance can be as much an art than a science.

Here are our top three tips for managing employee performance:

1. Training

Consider the following when deciding on training for your staff:

Take each individual’s needs into account

Talk to them about their strengths and weaknesses, and ask them to tell you how they prefer to learn.

Think about what training options are available

You might have your own in-house courses available, or you could have found an online course that would be appropriate.

You could enrol them in a course with an outside provider, or you might want to send them to conferences, seminars or workshops.


Whether an employee is learning under the guidance of someone else on your team or working as their assistant, a mentor is a great way to upskill an employee – especially if they’re likely to step into the mentor’s role at some point.

2. Performance reviews

They’re not mandatory, but they’re a good way to check in with your employee and help measure their progress, performance and discuss future options.

They can be reasonably informal but you still need to document each meeting in their employee file.

Also make sure you share your notes with your employee once the review is over so they have them to refer to.

These are areas that a performance review may cover:

Setting goals

Talk about what should be achieved, and the best ways of going about it. If this isn’t the first review, discuss whether they’ve achieved their goals since their last review

Job satisfaction

What can be done to enhance things like gaining more experience or responsibility, taking on more challenges or improving their work/life balance?


Discuss their salary and whether it’s going to increase or not – and why – as well any bonuses.

3. Performance management plans

These can be used when your employee isn’t performing as you’d like.

If your informal chats or performance reviews aren’t keeping things on track, then it’s time to implement a performance management plan.

Check out the MYOB Essential Employer Guide for more detailed information on performance management plans and many more aspects of being a great employer.


We wish the FMG Young Farmers the best of luck.


*Source: MYOB Business Monitor 2015