A recent study tour took the Wynngold calf team out to Milwaukee, America in early April to the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association conference. Although I was impressed with how the Americans farm (it’s not very often I set foot outside of Wales), I do feel that us Brits are doing a fantastic job back home whilst working under much more stringent regulations.
A trend we noticed in the states was the way they motivate staff: workers are paid a bonus on top of their salary based on hitting targets. This could be viewed as a positive approach to increase and maintain production…. but is there another way we can motivate staff?
Sometimes, attending farmer meetings or training days can be quite repetitive in terms of the information delivered – themes always tend to centre around ‘how to increase your milk yield per cow’ or ‘how we should be monitoring heifer growth to enable us to calve down at 24 months’. So maybe we should try thinking outside the box?
One seminar delivered during the calf conference that was particularly interesting was that by Ty Bennet, a motivational speaker. Ty has travelled the world speaking to tens of thousands of audience members, transforming the lives, careers and business practices of leaders from some of the most recognisable brands in the world, including: Delta Airlines, Subway, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and RE/MAX.
Ty delivered a talk on ‘The Power of Influence’, centring around how to get the most potential out of your staff/colleagues. Getting the most out of staff seems to be a topic of discussion on many farms I call on and, staff motivation is always something that farmers are looking to improve. I find all too often that the same farmers are continuously looking for staff – why is this? Are we listening to the needs of our team members; do you listen to their ideas and suggestions? Maybe you should ask yourself ‘Are you a boss or are you an influential leader’?
No matter who you are and what profession you do, increasing influence in the work place is critical to achieving set targets. If you can’t measure something, how are you able to manage it to increase efficiencies?
Running an efficient farm and getting the most out of employees goes hand in hand. But, the word ‘staff’ resembles someone who ‘clocks in’ and ‘clocks out’ of their working day, what we really need are team members; someone who contributes to the business as though its their own; someone who is always looking to improve, someone who is their own biggest critic. You should never be content with your performance, keep pushing boundaries to increase efficiencies. Don’t forget, people support what they help to create.
Farmers are jugglers. They juggle family life, a marriage, milking cows, accounts, paperwork, managing staff, harvesting, calving, lambing etc. Keeping all these plates spinning is a big task. It only takes a second of distraction for these plates to fall and break!
Should we be separating areas of our business and delegating to other team members, This way things are more manageable, but less stressful for one person to manage, but still oversee everything?
Effective team management is key.