Established and expanding dairies face, as in other businesses in agriculture, problems such as ineffective communication and a lack of training and skilled workers, leading to costly turnover rates and interpersonal conflict.

Over the last decade, the increasing numbers of Hispanic workers in the dairy industry predisposed owners to hire bilingual supervisors in order to facilitate communication and establish a cultural bond between management and employees.

Although at first glance the benefits are evident, owners and managers both have an important role in developing leadership and communication skills to promote labor productivity and a motivated dairy team.

Management skills

Effective managers excel in communication and motivation, recognizing their leadership responsibility.


By sharing similar culture and language, Hispanic managers will considerably improve the owner’s opportunity to understand what workers value in a professional relationship and how cultural differences can be surpassed, driving the workforce to its full potential.

Communicate – A Hispanic manager should be involved in interviewing during the hiring process, building rapport through interpersonal relations, conducting new employee orientations, resolving conflicts and disciplining. These all require effective communication.

Bilingual dairy supervisors must effectively convey clear instructions to employees and ensure that they completely understand how to carry out specific tasks, reducing the risk of missed or unclear messages and frustration for both parties.

Being able to listen and encourage feedback can lead to earlier detection and resolution of problems on the dairy.

Train – Effective training requires teaching skills, tolerance and a systematic approach to evaluate whether training has been effective. As language is an important barrier to effective communication, bilingual supervisors have a training advantage, provided they have the resources, and most importantly, the skills to influence people. Employees who share the same culture and can communicate in the same language as their supervisor are more prone to ask for feedback and provide input, feeling more “into the job.”

0110EL caramona delegate full

Delegate – Every individual in the dairy is equally important and should contribute positively toward the development of the business. Recognizing the experience, skills, knowledge and values of each member of the team helps the Hispanic supervisor to involve employees in the decision-making process and delegate more effectively, if the team is interested and motivated.

Owners should encourage their managers to develop a team approach and make each individual accountable for the success of the operation.

Resolve conflict – Conflict among employees and between employees and the management team is a workplace reality in any work environment, and dairy operations are no exception. Managers must learn to deal with conflict rather than avoid it and should use their influence as a manager to implement proper strategies when addressing conflict.
0110EL caramona resolve full

Hispanic supervisors, in particular, those who are quickly promoted or newly hired, often say disciplinary actions and dealing with conflict are the worst tasks they are confronted with as part of their daily functions. This may seem to be one of the central reasons for owners to place a bilingual employee in this position, but this can bring additional problems if the manager’s use of authority and personal influence are not effective.

Fostering good interpersonal relationships between employees and between employees and management will reduce the incidence of conflicts.

0110EL caramona favorite full

Favoritism – Employees who are acquainted and belong to the same social group can achieve teamwork more easily, which brings obvious benefits to dairy performance.

Preferential treatment is often mentioned as a cause of conflict between workers, especially if family members are directly related to employees. Being conscious of this reality and helping to promote an impartial culture for your dairy is essential to maintaining good interpersonal relations among employees and avoid conflict.

0110EL caramona lead full

Lead – In some cases owners select their supervisors for their ability to lead people. However, in most cases, supervisors are promoted for their workplace accomplishments or the fact that they have basic skills required for the position. Although leadership is sometimes inherited, owners should choose their managers for their competencies, communication and leadership.

0110EL caramona motive full

Motivate – Actively promote enthusiasm in the workplace. Hispanic employees value three main things – appreciation for their work, sympathetic help with problems, and loyalty.

However, some managers are more effective than others in developing a work environment in which employees are constantly motivated. Managers, continually work with your dairy’s owner to better understand how to satisfy employee needs and keep their job challenging as well as how to encourage them to reach their potential and to develop according to their employer’s expectations.

To achieve human resource objectives, bilingual dairy farm managers need to adopt current human resource management practices.

Overcoming the language barrier and understanding the cultural difference between the owner and the workers can be facilitated by a skilled bilingual manager.

Hispanic workers look for a respectful, collaborative workplace. Hispanic supervisors can help the owner recognize the employees’ needs, communicate effectively and maintain motivated workers.

Owners should continuously support you as a manager by helping develop your management skills. PD