Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

When you have no power over a situation and your ideas are ignored, are you engaged? Do you care about the project or platform as much? Probably not, and that’s an attitude you need to avoid on your farm.

Work with your employees to help them develop their skills, trust you and buy-in to the farm operation’s goals. You’ll have more dedicated employees who do more than just cash a paycheck — they make the farm better.

“Employee engagement is important,” says Whitney Kinne, career coach from southern Missouri. “Data shows that people who have the opportunity to use their strengths — or even just learn about their strengths — are six times as likely to be engaged in their job.”

It doesn’t matter what you do, if you’re six-times more engaged you’ll actively look for ways to do your job better. These employees will offer new ideas, ways to improve processes and ultimately leave the workplace better than what they found it.

Here are a few tips from Kinne and experts at Rural Mutual Insurance Company for practical ways to engage employees:

  • Provide education and coaching. “Customize the frequency of this for what makes sense to the operation and the dynamic of the team,” Kinne says. “For some, it’s once a year, and others it can be monthly. Work on goal setting, team development and help every employee take ownership of their part of the operation.”
  • Recognize employee efforts. “If employees feel like their work is important and valued, they will be more inclined to work hard,” according to Rural Mutual Insurance. “Simple solutions include: a community recognition board in a common space, distribute superlative awards at the next companywide event or a shout-out to an employee on social media.”
  • Give employees a voice. Provide a safe way for employees to suggest changes or work through challenges, Kinne says. Ask them for feedback and solutions to problems but don’t always expect ideas or answers right away. At your next meeting, ask the employees three questions and tell them to think it over and get back to you — you never know what innovative ideas they might present, plus they feel more involved in decision-making.
  • Find time away from work to connect. “To show your company supports work/life balance, encourage employees to connect with one another and socialize offline,” experts from Rural Mutual Insurance suggest. “Refresh a common space, like a breakroom, where employees can gather. Host happy hours or themed potlucks every so often.”

An engaged employee is a more efficient employee — work to bring out their strengths and watch the benefits spill over into your operation.


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