The Gleaner

The RH Agri Mobile rolls into Saint-Anicet

As the labour shortage has become a major issue for the agricultural industry, a mobile team of specialized consultants, known as the RH Agri Mobile, came to offer human resources solutions to a half-dozen producers gathered at Le Mangeoir in Saint-Anicet on November 23.

“The labour crisis is having a particular impact on our farms, because it’s often seasonal work, and we can’t offer the same wages and working conditions as other sectors,” pointed out Kessine Lunga, a consultant with RH Agri Mobile, before adding that despite this, many workers are interested in getting their hands dirty.

The workshop format made it possible to focus on the specific problems facing participants in their sectors, including apple growing, dairy, market gardening, field crops, and livestock. “I need about fifteen pickers for just a few weeks, and I have some who are only available a few days a week,” lamented the owner of an orchard located in Oka, highlighting a common problem facing apple growers.

RH Agri Mobile consultant Karina Salazar, who is also a project manager at the Centre d’emploi agricole, offered a possible solution: “There’s a program called Agrijob. You can sign up and we’ll come to you with a busload of local people who want to work, and who often have experience.”

The consultants also proposed a common framework based on the six levers of employee retention: autonomy, appreciation, belonging, recognition, leadership, and management practices. The producers present were unanimous in their desire to encourage a sense of autonomy in their employees, but suggested they have found it difficult to strike the right balance between offering a rigid framework and more flexibility.


Agricultural producers gathered at the Mangeoir in Saint Anicet on November 23 for an RH Agri mobile conference PHOTO Ian Ward


“It’s fine to tell employees, ‘Here’s your task list, here’s how we’ve learned to do it with the experience we have here on the farm; and when you’re ready, come see me and you can add your sauce’… But if your framework is malleable and flexible all the time, it doesn’t work,” said consultant Alexandra Bourgeois-Guérin, who is an employee experience specialist with the firm Kolegz. “As an employer, you can’t motivate employees any more than you can tug on a flower to make it grow. But you can give them the ingredients they need to motivate themselves,” she explained.

Bourgeois-Guérin stressed the importance of recognition as a loyalty strategy: “One in three employees doesn’t know if their boss is satisfied with their work. It’s important to find ways of saying so: to highlight good work verbally or with money, or it can be very motivating to give them new responsibilities in line with their interests.”

The half-day workshop/conference, which was offered free of charge by the Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité social, was much appreciated by those in attendance. The specialists present took turns pointing out that an extensive network of services (often free as well) is available to producers in the Haut-Saint-Laurent region, including support for recruitment, human resources management, and workplace safety issues.

Numerous subsidies are available and accessible via the Union des Producteurs Agricoles website:, under the Montérégie tab.

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