So, as an employer, you’ve managed to build your required workforce for the upcoming harvest.
First box ticked.
Next thing to consider is how to minimise turnover.

The last thing you need is continual staff changes requiring your time and energy and costing you money to replace lost workers.

Workplace health and safety laws help to keep us aware of physical hazards and risks to personal physical safety but one of the factors to also be mindful of is the mental health of your workers.

Mental health issues can play a big part in lost productivity and a little attention to this area may be all that’s needed to keep valuable staff on deck and functioning well.

Recognising the signs

The Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel ( provides a great range of information and resources on this topic, regardless of which state you live in. Here is what they have to say about signs to look out for.

  • regularly turning up late to work
  • looking tired and seeming stressed
  • having trouble concentrating, making decisions and managing multiple tasks
  • being unusually emotional and getting frustrated with people
  • avoiding social activities
  • sitting alone at lunchtime
  • unable to accept negative feedback
  • drinking more alcohol than normal
  • avoiding certain workplace activities such as staff meetings
  • getting overwhelmed or easily upset
  • becoming aggressive and threatening others

Rather than instant termination, it may be prudent to have a conversation first with affected employees and refer them for help.

How to help?

Firstly, reach out and initiate a conversation. Remember to do this in private away from others.

Listen and be sympathetic.

Offer to help.

Have some knowledge of what support services are available in your area, whether they be financial counselling services, family or personal counselling services or agencies that can provide material aid.

Who knows, you may need these at some point for friends and neighbours or even your own family members.

There are also a variety of help lines available where people needing support can speak with a professional in a confidential manner.

Need immediate help?

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, contact any of these free 24/7 hotlines:

Don’t forget if you do need help with recruitment, call the Harvest Trail Information Service on free call 1800 062 332 or email

HTIS staff can promote your vacancies and refer appropriate workers directly to you, all at no cost.