A large part in building a sustainable farm we discovered is a good risk management program and an engaged workforce. The Gallup Study revealed (“The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organization Outcomes,” by Harter et al, Gallup, April 2016) that having an engaged workforce can quite possibly increase your profit margins by decreasing the costs related to incident and injuries. So how do you build an engaged workforce who are committed to top performance, excellent quality of work and high efficiency; who believe whole-heartedly in the farms mission and vision and are confident in speaking to what they believe in. Here are a few hints and tips in building an engaged workforce:
- Have a clear mission and vision for your farm and share it with all employees. Live the mission and vision!
- Get to know your employees to see if your mission and vision align with their values.
- Give employees the tools and training needed to live your mission and vision.
- Make it personal. Get to know employee interests, hobbies, and outside of work activities and integrate similarities within the workforce, where possible.
- Keep employees in the loop on how the farm is doing. Make them aware of the successes, concerns and problem areas. They may have ideas to help build up the farm and fix problem areas.
- Allow your workforce to grow and support them in their growth.
- Give recognition for hard work when and where it is due. Timing is important. Waiting too long can decrease the value of the recognition.
- Listen to employee feedback and suggestions.
- Motivate and coach each employee when you see an employee struggling with something or trying to grow and evolve but needs a boost.
- Allow the employee to take the reigns and show their leadership skills.
There is no denying that there is some work to be done up front, but the return on investment can be surprisingly extraordinary. The key, are you committed to building this type of workforce?