The more people understand about the farm, at both a business and practical level, the more ownership and commitment they feel to delivering results.
This knowledge also enables people to understand exactly where and why they fit in and how their actions impact both on other people on farm and the bottom line. This is motivating for most people as they know their contribution counts.
- Involve your team in setting targets or goals for the farm. All staff should help with setting production and practical targets.
- Sit down with the team each dairy season and discuss what needs to be done as well as how it will be done and by whom. Make sure these sessions also focus on why tasks are important.
- Review what went well, what didn't and why after each dairy season or significant project. Seek your team's input and write down suggestions for the future.
- Hold regular staff meetings (weekly is good) to discuss what is happening on farm and to assign tasks.
- Determine your employees' current skill levels through assessment and discussion.
- Discuss any skill gaps and identify areas where your employee wants to learn new skills.
Quick Questions & Answers
When do I involve my people?
Take every opportunity you can to involve people. Sometimes this will be discussing policies and procedures at staff meetings, sometimes having a formal sit down and reviewing production results and targets, other times just having a yarn as you drive into town to pick up supplies.
How do I develop an employee to take over for me?
The first step is to have a discussion with your employee and see if this is what they want. You both need to be sure that the time invested is worthwhile and that your employee wants this opportunity.
Next, work together to create a development plan which will ensure they will gain all the necessary skills and knowledge they will need. This plan is likely to include off-farm training, on-farm training and also plenty of coaching and working alongside you.
Be realistic about timeframes, as there is still the day-to-day running of the farm to manage. Ensure you also have regular reviews to monitor progress.
Performance management isn’t just for corporate businesses, many dairy farmers find it successful to improve productivity.
If there are financial and/or legal implications you will need to get experts involved early on and ensure that your employee is ready and capable financially of taking this step.
Review the steps required to build a good succession plan for your farm.