If you’ve never carried out a formal orientation process before, why not try it out this season? You'll find that:
- new staff pick things up more quickly and hit the ground running
- expectations and rules are clear from the start
- communication is better between you and your team
- there are fewer errors and issues, with a reduction in unnecessary costs
- your people will feel more comfortable and competent faster.
Orientation typically includes things like employment administration, introductions, a farm tour, policies and procedures, health and safety, job expectations, a business overview, and training.
Tips and tricks
Before your new employee starts work, prepare a checklist of topics and tasks to cover during the orientation. This will ensure you don’t miss anything important.
Another tip is to set up visual systems to help your new employee get acquainted with the business. This will work in your favour. Here are some examples.
- A shadow board for tools will help new (and existing) employees know where equipment is kept.
- Labelling your shelves, drawers, hooks and containers will encourage new staff to return things to their correct home, saving time, frustration, and employee-employer relationship problems.
- Diagrams or photos can be a clear way to illustrate how a task should be carried out. For example, put a laminated photo on the wall next to the dairy hose, showing how the dairy hose is put away properly.
Also, try organising your equipment so it’s positioned in the same place that it’s likely to be used. This will be helpful for staff and save time. The idea is to keep gear required for common jobs together and in the right place.
Here are some examples.
- Keep lame cow tools at the spot where lame cows are treated.
- Create a kit for servicing bikes at the shed.
- Store a container with calving equipment (e.g. chains, lube, medicine) in the springer paddock.
- Keep a trough repair kit at the dairy shed, with spare ballcocks, spanners, pipe fittings and a checklist (reminding staff to turn the water off first).
- Get new staff up to speed more quickly by taking them through a formal orientation.
- Share information visually so staff quickly learn the process.
- Organise equipment in a kit so it’s quick and easy to find.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy May 2017.