As employers you are careful to hire only the best applicants, and once you have them, you want to keep them. It is no secret that the agriculture industry has a labor problem. Retention of employees has become a hot topic throughout the industry. The leaders within your respective companies should not have to feel overworked or discouraged because of this. This read will discuss 5 strategies to begin today in hopes of keeping those team members around for a much longer time.
Trust and Respect. As the saying goes, people will forget the things that you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. When you as a leader begin to align your actions and your words you will begin to gain the trust and respect of your team members. When managers make it a priority to show respect for employees on a regular basis, it will begin to develop a positive workplace culture. Employees want to know they are respected and appreciated. Building a culture of trust and security with your employees is a great start to keep them coming back each day and getting the most out of their work experience.
Responsibility. Trust and respect go hand in hand when you are managing your team. Showing your team that you trust them can come in different ways. One is by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow both personally and professionally. Encourage them to gain new skills, whether through a class, webinar, or provided on-site cross training. When necessary promote from within and compensate accordingly. If you have high levels of trust within your team you should feel confident in giving them the freedom to make decisions for their respective areas. All new hires should be communicated to clearly and trained thoroughly for their new roles. Your investment into your team will pay dividends for you as you invest in them and allow them to grow. This can be said of the different generations that make up the majority of today’s labor pool. They need the company’s values to align with theirs and trust will play a huge factor in this.
Communication. John Powell said, ““Communication works for those who work at it.” This statement could not be truer. Communication needs to be a constant work in progress. Every person is unique. Different personality styles, motivators, generational differences, and cultural preferences can make communication seem like an impossible challenge. You must continue to work on it to be effective. We all come with our own preferences in how we would like to be communicated to. This can be defined by looking into one’s own personality type. To understand how to communicate effectively with others, you must first learn how YOU communicate. If you are a blunt and to the point communicator you may not be one for small talk, not that it’s a bad thing, but that could be perceived as something much different by your team members Understanding each team members communication style is key to effective communication within your team. Communication differences are at the root of most conflicts. At Summit SmartFarms, we use the Cloverleaf digital platform to onboard teams and discuss their behavior and personality styles, tying in their desired communication styles as well. Another benefit of communication is to have regularly scheduled meetings. Now before I lose you to an eye roll and a sigh, hear me out. Changes and shifts happen weekly, daily, sometimes hourly within your business. How are you relaying those changes to your team? It could be as simple as a 15-minute morning de-brief to set the direction of the day, you could have a whole staff lunch meeting to discuss changes, delays, and important topics. Are you announcing new hires? This could be a great time to do that for everyone to meet them and introduce themselves. This works to keep those channels of communication open within the team, everyone hears the same message at the same time. It takes away the element of rumors and team chatter that can sometimes be like the Chinese telephone game you play during icebreakers. Leaders within the organization should be having 1:1 meetings with the leadership team. This helps to connect that upper management in a way to foster trust and cohesiveness. These 1:1’s do not have to be long or extensive but allow some time to discuss challenges and how those can be resolved, or to discuss strategy for growth both individually and team.
Reward. We all like rewards in one way or another. Now don’t take this statement as you need to go out and spend all of your extra money to keep your team around. That is NOT what we are saying, BUT hard work and dedication should not go long unnoticed. The rewards you give your employees should speak to their emotional needs and should go beyond monetary compensation. Acknowledgment in front of the company, whole company and department parties, lunches with the boss, logo clothing, handwritten notes, etc., can all contribute to the positive culture of the company and can be good morale builders. Consistency is the key to this point. Once you set a goal or a precedence you must stay true and consistent through the entire process. What you do for one department must be done for others when the goal is met or the project complete. By not demonstrating consistency it drives a negative message to your staff and starts to deplete the moral within your organization.
Relaxation Time. As an employer you should expect and demand high-quality performance, but it is irrational to expect a continual level of pressure at 100 percent. Be generous with time off. Now you are probably really rolling your eyes. Regardless of the hard economy, provide sufficient time for sick days, vacations, new babies, bereavement, etc. Managing workflow can be highly beneficial to enduring employee relationships and engagement. A tired, burnt-out, even frustrated employee will not be highly engaged in their work and they will absolutely not be giving their 100 percent. Often this individual will bring a negative attitude into the team and begin to cause unneeded problems. Allow employees the chance to catch their breath from one assignment to the next with the help of team-building activities or break periods over the course of the workday. This can be a good place for those lengthier staff meetings as well. 😊
It is important to remember that a long-term employment commitment requires effort in both directions for employees to make a long-term commitment to an organization, as the employer you will need to provide them with good reason to stay. SSF promotes the above efforts to be done by employers to establish a culture that builds strong relationships with their employees. Train them well enough that they can leave but treat them so well that they will want to stick around with you for a long time.
If you are interested in learning more about the Cloverleaf digital platform or the communication and behavior style of your team members, contact Summit SmartFarms to discuss the scope of work we can help you with.
With a passion for people, Kasey strives to understand the challenges that the Ag industry faces on the human side. She has confidence that creating positive working cultures will improve employee satisfaction and retention.