Australia’s horticultural growers and the broader agricultural sector rely heavily on seasonal labour to plant, prune, train, harvest and pack their produce.
One of the key organisations helping to connect seasonal workers with employers is MADEC, a not-for-profit business that delivers employment, training and community development initiatives.
One of MADEC’s means of matching willing workers with horticultural vacancies is the National Harvest Labour Information Service (NHLIS) comprising the Harvest Trail job board website, call centre and harvest guide.
For the four years prior to the project, incoming calls had been declining at an average of 23% per year. Likewise, website traffic had been trending downwards when each month was compared with the same month the previous year – an important consideration because website traffic is linked to crop harvest times, which is seasonal.
In 2018 Currie worked with MADEC to develop a communications and marketing strategy to guide potential workers to the NHLIS to fill seasonal work vacancies and encourage more employers to list vacancies.
To understand the different audiences, Currie ran two focus groups with backpackers in Queensland and Victoria and interviewed growers in different states. Currie then developed the NHLIS: communications and marketing strategy (2018-19) based on the findings of this research, insights from the client, results of a communication audit and a comprehensive situational report.
We then implemented the first six months of the strategy’s implementation plan in 2019, encompassing messaging, branding, industry leadership, advertising, e-newsletters, social media and website upgrades. Ten KPIs were set for the project, including two primary ones around boosting traffic to the Harvest Trail website and increasing calls to the call centre.
The decline in incoming calls to the call was arrested. Calls stabilised with an increase in calls of 2% compared to the previous year. The downward trend in website views was reversed. Views were trending upward when the project finished in June 2019.