It’s a common problem for HR professionals dealing with rural recruitment: how do you get new employees to stay? How do you avoid the high turnover that often comes with recruiting in very remote, rural areas? One method that we have often heard is effective is getting new employees involved in their communities. When there isn’t even a semi-metropolitan area nearby, it definitely makes a big difference to involve employees with those around them to better enjoy their surroundings.
Here are some different options to consider when getting new employees involved in their communities:
Volunteer Groups & Incentives
Larger communities might have Jaycees, United Ways, or Boys and Girls Clubs. Smaller, rural towns may be less likely to have volunteer groups or organizations, but perhaps consider offering an incentive to employees who put in the most volunteer hours in a particular time period. Examples of volunteer work in small communities might include visiting the local nursing home, cleaning ditches, helping shut-in residents with housework or yardwork, or volunteering your time to help out a community fundraiser. Reward the employee with the most volunteer hours a short paid vacation or a gift card. This way, they will be incentivized to help out and make connections within their new community while doing so.
City Council and Event Boards
A former coworker of mine said that something she really enjoyed when she moved to a small, remote town where she knew no one was joining the local county fair board. She got to help plan livestock judging events, building improvements, and suggest entertainment acts while getting to know area farmers and community members better. If you don’t have an active fair board nearby, suggest your new employees join city council or even serve as a leader to the local 4-H club.
Most people from smaller towns know that younger people are typically fewer in number, but an option to meet and mingle with more community members is to suggest joining an area church or a church group. I’m new to my community as well and something that has been extremely beneficial for me learning more about the people I now call neighbors has been joining a weekly bible study.
Meeting and befriending people in the communities is certainly a major factor in ensuring that employees remain in their role in rural communities. Encouraging them to join community activities is a huge step forward in rural retention. Check out this article on retention from AgCareers.com’s HR Services