Due to the economic and social situation that our industry faces and to our active participation with PeopleFirst, today we receive many comments and questions about the challenge of developing, maintaining and retaining a solid workforce. We know this is not easy to achieve, but it isn’t an impossible task either. The first step that we can take to pull together a solid workforce is to obtain commitment from the employees within our operation. In this article we would like to express and describe a series of answers to questions that we constantly hear regarding what employee engagement is and how it influences the success of the farm.
What is employee engagement?
It is the state of feeling a positive connection felt by an employee for the company where he works. In other words, it is a combination of the desire, enthusiasm, dedication and sense of responsibility felt by the employee for his company. An engaged employee is a “hooked employee.”
Click here or on the image at right to view it at full size in a new window.
We can say that a committed employee is one who feels a maximum satisfaction for his work because he knows that with his efforts and dedication he is giving his full contribution to the company so that it achieves its goals.
Importance of an engaged employee
When an employee is “engaged” with the dairy, his productivity increases helping the general wellbeing of the animals and the most efficient use of the equipment and resources that are given.
An engaged employee also helps create and assemble a solid workforce, where complaints, gossip and absences are kept to a minimum. A team where its employees are engaged is an innovative team that generates and welcomes necessary changes and reaches the goals set by upper management.
According to a report published by BlessingWhite, employees who are engaged are enthusiastic and use their talents and efforts to make a “difference” allowing the company’s success to be something possible and sustainable. An engaged employee has a vision of his future aligned with the future of his company.
According to the report, committed employees stay working for a company for what they will be able to contribute to it. Meanwhile, unengaged employees stay for what the company gives and offers them.
How do I engage my employees?
First of all we must take into account that engagement starts with management; the manager is the first one to be engaged in the operation, including its employees.
Upper management must develop a “culture of engagement” on the dairy where there is effective communication that allows the establishment of clear relationships between all employees and a sense of close collaboration in the pursuit and achievement of the dairy’s goals.
Within this culture of engagement, there should be opportunities for development and employee training. A system of employee recognition should also be established and developed within this culture, and must be put into practice when established goals and objectives are met.
Finally, a majority of employees need to find meaning and purpose to their work in order to become engaged in their work. Moreover, engaged employees need to be satisfied with their work.
What does an employee need to become engaged?
According to several studies the main aspects are:
• Opportunities for training and development within the operation
• Opportunities to grow and establish a career within the dairy
• Better opportunity to do what he does best
• More flexible working conditions so that the employee has control over how work is done
• A better relationship and communication with immediate supervisor
• Greater clarity on what the dairy needs the employee to do and why
• To achieve cooperation or the opportunity to cooperate with co-workers
• Challenges need to exist in the workplace
• Have the opportunity to give and receive specific feedback
• Be given the necessary resources to carry out the workload
If we want to develop and maintain a solid team, it is important to understand the key role of upper management in creating and developing effective communication to create a “culture of engagement” on the farm.
Once the employee feels committed to the operation, he will see the job as part of his life, allowing him to become an efficient worker and working in line with the goals and vision of the farm.
An engaged employee pours himself in his work – his efforts, creativity, even taking the initiative to solve problems. The more engaged employees the dairy has, the lower the employee turnover rate will be.
Finally, we can agree that an engaged employee will face all challenges with enthusiasm and dedication, even when they may cause changes, in order to achieve the goals and vision of the operation. EL