Employee engagement


2 min read

Benefits of an engaged employee Key drivers of engagement Increasing engagement

Employee engagement on your dairy farm means having staff who are dedicated and excited about their work. The page explains that engaged employees contribute more to the business, are more productive, and tend to stay longer. You can increase engagement by setting clear expectations, offering growth opportunities, maintaining regular communication, and recognising effort. Strategies such as weekly meetings, reviewing work rosters, implementing performance management, investing in training, and making jobs interesting can all boost engagement. Understanding individual personalities and involving staff in decisions can also foster a positive workplace culture.

Employee engagement is about having staff that are committed to and enthusiastic about their jobs and the business.

Research suggests that only a third of employees in the general workforce are actively engaged in their work. Great employers have a much higher percentage of engaged employees (up to 75%).

Benefits of an engaged employee

Engaged employees believe their contribution makes a difference:

  • They will invest extra time and effort in making the business a success
  • Engaged employees are more productive
  • They are less likely to have accidents
  • They are more likely to stay with their employer

Key drivers of employee engagement

  • Clear expectations about the job
  • Opportunities for career progression
  • Opportunities to grow and develop
  • Regular feedback and dialogue with the employer
  • High-quality relationships with workmates and managers
  • Believing in what the business is trying to achieve
  • Effective communication about what’s going on
  • Recognition and reward for going the extra mile
  • Interesting and meaningful work
  • Autonomy and ability to make decisions about one’s own work
  • Effective leadership
  • Work-life balance

Ways to increase employee engagement

Introduce weekly farm staff meetings
Meetings are very helpful for communicating important information, finding what’s happening, seeking employees’ ideas, and fostering a positive team culture. Find out more about team meetings.

Review your rostering system
How many hours are people working on average a week? How many days off do they have? Talk to staff about how the roster works for them and how they feel about their work-life balance. Great employers will aim for a maximum average of 45 working hours per week and a minimum of 3 days off every fortnight. Find out more about rosters, pay and leave.

Introduce a performance management system
Ensure employees clearly understand what they are expected to do and have the skills, knowledge, and support needed to achieve these expectations. The most successful systems are simple ones – ongoing coaching and mentoring, frequent '10-minute chats', monthly catchups, and formal review meetings once or twice a year. Find out more about employee catchups and reviews.

Invest in training and development
Coaching, mentoring, and on-the-job training are one of the most effective methods of developing your people. Take the time to share your experiences and insights, match new staff with a buddy, and encourage all employees to attend relevant farm discussion groups. Budget for external courses and formal qualifications, they are well worth it in terms of staff productivity and retention. Find out more about coaching and mentoring.

Involve your staff, ask their opinions, and listen to their ideas
Their participation is essential for a positive workplace culture. Find out more about team meetings.

Recognise and reward staff for a job well done
Make a special effort to reward those who go the extra mile.

Consider how people's jobs can be made more interesting
Daily tasks on the farm are not always interesting or exciting. Try to provide as much variety as possible, e.g. job rotation. Give people the freedom to organise their own workload and tasks. Foster a positive team culture through shared meals and social activities outside work.

Understanding personalities

Remember everyone has different personalities and different motivations. What engages one employee may not be the same for the others. Consider the differences within your team and read more about understanding personalities.

Last updated: Sep 2023

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