It is not just an old farmers’ tale that there is a complex relationship between the success of any business and the well-being of their employees. Absenteeism due to sickness is a major cause of concern in the agricultural space too.
“You can’t manage if you cannot measure,” says Dr Kobus Laubscher, agricultural economist. This week, Laubscher and Marcia le Roux, a sales executive at Agility Channel, discuss data-driven employee wellness and productivity measurements on Food For Mzansi TV with Dawn Noemdoe.
Laubscher believes that employers who look after the wellbeing of their workforce definitely reap the benefits on the business’ bottom line, making it a win-win situation for both employees and their employer.
“Having data of the absenteeism of your employees, and (a system for) proper recording of the data is essential these days,” he says.
“Agility has the necessary tools to support small and big farms in properly formalising and recording employee well-being data.”
On smaller agricultural enterprises, as with any small business, your employees are fairly well-acquainted with you. It’s easy to know what’s going on at all times, but on bigger farms with many employees it is often difficult to keep tabs on everyone. For such agri-enterprises, farmers often want to be more prepared for risk-mitigation in the form of data to guide their decision-making.
This data can include meticulous records about absenteeism, sick leave, prior medical issues, among others. It gives employers the peace of mind that they’re aware of the wellbeing of their employees, and can also assist them in actually tracking the benefits that Agility Agri can bring to their agricultural enterprise.
“We know that data has become so integral for employers, and there are many reasons for this,” says Le Roux. “But most important, is that you can identify health care trends via the analysis automatically generated by Agility Agri.”
This analysis is automatically generated by Agility by looking at claim processes to identify the major trends in the employer group. This helps farmers understand which claims typically can be expected from your employees, and what this means for your business. “It is easy to use this data to see where possible risks may arise, typical trends in what type of claims have been submitted in similar working environments.”
Why Agility Employee Wellbeing?
Agility offers many different programmes and solutions for farmers who want to ensure the wellbeing of their employees.
Using data-driven technologies to inform employers, Agility can tailor-make their products to suit specific needs. Employers can use the data and demographics of their employees to identify possible preventative measures, including education through wellness days to assist employees understanding their own well-being and health.
Le Roux says, “Then you can start adding the right type of Agility benefits and and risk tools to make sure that the well-being of your employees is then taken care of better and that you have a more productive staff.”
What’s in it for the employer?
Ok, that sounds great, but why should farmers and agripreneurs consider investing in healthcare for their employees if they are already worried about running a profitable business? Times are tough, after all, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Mzansi.
“We want to upgrade our engagement to our human resources on farms,” explains Laubscher.
“If you want to care for your farm, your business and your employees, then you need to know what’s happening in terms of your employee health and wellbeing in order to prepare risk-mitigation strategies.”
Being prepared for employee-related risk and health issues might not seem pressing on a farm, but your employees are a sizeable part of your business. Using data to see trends can help you prevent issues that can impact their productivity.
“Once you have the data, and the data is reliable, you can start working with it to improve the livelihood of your employees. Once you do this, you will see the benefits will come that way,” says Laubscher.
Agility Agri allows you to use data to plan ahead instead and to set interventions instead of just responding to things as they happen. It also gives you a grip on long-term trends and health effects. You get to be the employer of choice because you create employment, and provide the right health care cover for your employees.
“If you invest in the lifestyle and habits of people that you work with on a daily basis, you improve the overall productivity and functioning of your operation.”
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