A Kiwi agritech start-up has developed a new app for growers and contractors to hire seasonal workers amidst global seasonal labour shortages.
Tested with local agri-businesses in the face of COVID-19, PICMI enables employers to hire jobseekers without the need to meet them face-to-face. Instead, it is all through PICMI’s contactless solution.
“Growers don’t want another system, but they want tools to help speed up the process of hiring seasonal workers,” says PICMI’s founder, Genevieve Griffin-George.
“Using our cloud-based tool we’re seeing growers reduce hiring time by 70% from application to contract to induction.
“COVID meant many growers had to change how they were hiring. They were concerned about the risks of employing someone before they met them face-to-face, but because of the savings, speed and ease using PICMI now they wouldn’t go back,” says Griffin-George.
“We’re already seeing PICMI deliver some fantastic results for customers this harvest season. Our newest Bay of Plenty customer registered 670 jobseekers, and 450 of them secured contracts to work this season. Forty-five percent of the contracts were signed within our hour and 80% within one day.”
The award-winning idea for PICMI grew out of Griffin-George’s experience of managing her family’s kiwifruit orchard near Motueka and the pain points that arose around finding, hiring and managing seasonal staff.
A standardised workflow using templates and contracts has been developed by PICMI that captures jobseeker information and provides them with induction-type information – removing the need for physical contracts and paperwork.
“For jobseekers, we’re reducing the friction to find and do work,” says Griffin-George.
“They know straight away if they have a job or not. Many jobseekers apply for many jobs and then wait, hoping to hear back. This causes frustration for both jobseekers and growers, who find that many applicants aren’t actually available.
“We can increase the capacity of our labour force by enabling jobseekers to find seasonal work that suits their needs and give them the flexibility to choose, part-time or full-time seasonal work, based on location.”
Griffin-George says the technology “improves industry compliance and reporting integrates easily to flow data to other business systems”.
“The problems we’re working to solve are not just going to impact farmers and growers in New Zealand, as they’re global problems. PICMI is already on the radar of growers internationally – with interest from Australia and elsewhere.
“While we have a lot of work ahead of us, it’s an exciting time for the PICMI team.”