Everyone on board
Dayna and her partner Sam are keen surfers, heading down some lunchtimes to Pukehina Beach. Dayna also loves and teaches dancing.
Her off-farm talents echo two key elements in her management style: balance and keeping everyone happily on their toes. Importantly, Dayna does this with their input. She lets her team have a major say in roster-setting, divvies up jobs based on their personal skillsets and preferences, holds off-farm team-building activities at least twice a season, and has a weekly team meeting on Tuesday mornings.
“Those meetings are run by the whole team. They're an open place for everyone to share, not just me speaking to them,” emphasises Dayna.
She takes a similar approach when she sits down with each team member for a three-monthly one-on-one. “I really let them lead that conversation, so I'm not putting any ideas in their head.”
Dayna makes sure her team have an opportunity to upskill, too. “They’re welcome to do any sort of education, whether it be people management courses or Primary ITO courses. If they pass their course, we’ll pay their fees – it’s a little bit of an incentive for them to actually go and do well.”
Milking the schedules
Dayna says she and her team’s open discussions around roster-setting aim for maximum flexibility for all, “especially in the changing times of the seasons like calving”.
“I make an initial roster; then it gets redone about three times to accommodate everyone's needs as best as I can. I like to make sure there's time for everyone's relationships and extracurricular activities: study, family time, whatever is important to them.”
Last season saw a move to milking ten times in seven days (10- in-7), which has given more time for on-farm work, as well as family and other things like hobbies and off-farm activities. Over calving, milking shifts to three times in two days (3-in-2), with one of those weekend days being twice-a-day milking. They shift back to 10-in-7 at Christmas.
“A big part of it is flexibility,” says Dayna. “If people want to work through the day so they can get to their kids' sport games by 3pm, or get to the doctor or other appointments, they're more than welcome to do that – so long as they communicate that with me.”