The key to this is the work environment. Dairy farms need to be enjoyable, safe, productive and rewarding places to work.
Everybody on a farm has a part to play in creating a safe and rewarding workplace. As an employee there are several things you can do that will help you to feel safe and happy at work.
Expand each of the sections below to see some tips that can help get you started.
Employee tips for a great quality workplace
Balanced and productive work time
- Carry a note book where you can scribble tasks, information or instructions.
- Speak up about your needs and priorities e.g. sports, family or holiday – farmers are not mind readers.
- Ask your manager to use more written communication if English is not your mother tongue.
- Look for English courses to help you in your everyday work; a lot of them are low cost or free.
- Respect other team members’ time and show up on time.
- Keep timesheets! These will help you and your manager to better understand your workload and adjust the roster if necessary For a user-friendly timesheet template click here
- Ask your manager for regular performance reviews – the review with your manager is a great way to highlight your strengths and also to understand where you need to improve. Click here to see the performance reviews
- Make sure to get a written employment agreement which should include your duties, leave entitlements and pay.
- Talk to your manager if you are working too many hours and make sure you are not below minimum wage. Click here to find the minimum wage calculator
Wellness, wellbeing, health and safety
- Make sure you’re aware of your workplace’s health and safety policies. If you are working outside of them you could be held liable if an incident occurs.
- Speak up if you see anything which needs to be identified as a hazard, so measures can be put in place to minimise them.
- Take pride in your home and workplace and keep it clean and tidy. If there are problems in the workplace, the first step should be to talk to your manager. If there is no solution reached, you can get advice from a number of agencies.
- Take time to look after yourself, this includes eating well, exercising regularly and connecting with the local community. Take a look here for more information on wellbeing
- Make sure you communicate with your manager regarding sick leave, and when you can take time off. If you need to take sick leave, give as much notice as possible. This is especially important if you are the first on the farm to get the cows in the morning.
- Make sure you take a break in slower times of the year. You have four weeks leave, make the most of them. Click here for more information on leave
- Keep drugs and alcohol away from the workplace.
Effective team culture
- Ask questions if you don’t understand a task, often there will be someone in the team that can help you out.
- Take time to get to know your colleagues, especially the junior ones. Remember how you felt when you started your current job or your career in dairy.
- When you need to delegate a task, make sure you explain what you need done, when you need it done by, and why you need it done.
- Try to understand the challenges your manager may be facing to help you understand the goals for the team. Click here for more information on getting organised
- If you’re not from New Zealand, take some time to try to understand the difference between your culture and New Zealand’s.
- Take a look at the dairy industry standard roles so you know the skills you need to progress in your career. Click here to see the different roles
- Set goals for your career path and communicate these to your manager to ensure you can get the support and training you need Click here to check out dairy careers
- Get a mentor who can help you in your dairy career. Utilize your network and agencies like the dairy connect service to assist when looking for a mentor. Click here to register your interest
- When looking for jobs make sure you do your homework on your prospective employer. The interview is also a chance for you to assess if this is the right job, employer and work environment for you.
- Ask your manager if you can attend DairyNZ or industry information days such as the local discussion groups. This is a good source of networking, intellectual discussions as well as having a social break from the farm. The free food sometimes provided is just an added bonus! Find the next discussion group.
- There are a variety of training organisations which can help you with a wide range of programs to benefit your dairy career. Check out some of the following organisations by clicking on them:
- Young Farmers
- Go Dairy
- Primary ITO