Insights and trends for building a great team


3 min read

Importance of a great team How do I build a great team? Who else can help?

Having a great team who know how your farm works is vital for a successful business. Great teams acheive more together than the sum of the individuals, making work enjoyable and rewarding, and significantly improving your ability to keep people and their skills. Being a part of a great team is a great feeling for everyone.

Importance of building a great team

Farming is about people working together to deliver business results. The better the team works together the more likely the business results will be great. This is because there are various benefits linked to improved teamwork, proven by science: Work Life by Atlassian .

Great teams have a clear purpose and a strong team culture where people are committed to, and enthusiastic about, their jobs and the business. This is often called employee engagement. Engaged employees believe their contribution makes a difference and therefore they:

  • Will invest extra time and effort in making the business a success.
  • Are more productive.
  • Are less likely to have accidents.
  • Are more likely to stay with their employer.

Every year DairyNZ surveys employees about their job satisfaction and intentions for the coming year. Consistently we see the primary reasons people leave their jobs, and sometimes the sector, are poor workplace culture and/or bad experiences with their boss or a team member.

DairyNZ job satisfaction survey results

Every year approximately 5000 people leave the dairy sector. It has a similar turnover rate to other primary sectors however it is higher than New Zealand’s best-performing sectors.

Research suggests the total cost of staff turnover is anywhere from 33% to 100%+ of an employee’s salary when considerations such as recruitment costs, employer time in recruiting and training which could have been spent elsewhere, decreased efficiency, and mistakes.

Increasing retention rates in individual businesses and the sector will increase enjoyment, efficiency and productivity for farming businesses.

How do I build a great team?

The leader of the business always has the biggest influence in creating a strong team culture. This starts with recruiting the right people and continues with the leadership and culture in the business. In high performing businesses great teams and employee engagement are not left to chance. Managers and employers prioritise effort and time to build their teams.

Key qualities and considerations we see in great teams include:

  • Good leadership -understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Taking small positive steps can make a huge difference to your teams' engagement.
  • Rigorous recruitment, with a careful consideration of the job needs and how that job interacts with others.
  • Regular communication and knowing what drives your team.
  • The ability to have good work-life balance for all team members.
  • Investment in training and development.
  • Involving the team in business decisions that affect their work so they have a sense of autonomy and the ability to improve the work they do.
  • Common goals – team members know what the business is trying to achieve and how their work contributes to it.
  • An understanding of each other and the work that is being done.
Last updated: May 2024

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