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HIGH employee turnover is costly for any agribusiness.
It typically costs thousands of dollars in advertising charges, interview costs, training time and other expenses every time an employee decides to leave your business.
There are substantial financial incentives to keep turnover low in any business operating in the red meat or wool supply chain.
The key to low turnover in many cases is the amount of time the employer spends paying attention to employee needs and building loyalty. In short, those employers who create a positive and happy work environments usually are successful at retaining talented employees.
The key to less staff turnover and a higher incidence of employee engagement boils down to recruiting well, giving employees ample reason to enjoy what they do day-in, day-out and with whom, and above all, presenting them with incentives, challenges and a positive culture.
There are many benefits from cultivating highly engaged employees. A recent study found they are twice as likely to remain in the company and/or help a co-worker, and three times as likely to do something good and unexpected for the business. And they will be five times as likely to recommend the company to a friend or relative as a place to work.
Here’s five tools that can help with retention and reducing turnover.
Design jobs with employees in mind
It is hard to sustain interest in tasks that are difficult, repetitive and boring. While the assignment of difficult tasks is inevitable at times, job variety is the key to keep employees fresh and enthusiastic about what they’re doing. Rotate jobs so that the most difficult tasks get distributed among a number of people. In addition, try to fit the employee’s interests to the tasks that they are assigned to.
Working conditions are also an important part of job design. Correct equipment, including safety equipment and clothing, that will protect them from various weather and work conditions will enable your employees to perform their job safely and effectively.
Create performance expectations and goals
Employees want to know what their job is and what specifically is expected of them. Management research clearly shows that employees who set goals accomplish more than employees who don’t.
Effective managers work with employees to establish job goals and expectations. Goals should be written so that they can be referred to from time to time and evaluated. If an employee views his or her goals as unattainable, chances are the individual won’t even try to achieve them. Likewise, if the goals are too easy to attain, performance will suffer.
Provide ongoing feedback
By providing coaching and feedback, managers put themselves in the position to support top employee performance. By receiving continuous performance feedback, employees know how they are doing and what adjustments they can make to proceed in their work more effectively.
Employees also want to know why a job is being done a particular way or why a specific procedure is important to success. Explaining why a job is important and letting employees know that good performance is appreciated, will help you build employee loyalty.
Listening is perhaps the most important aspect of communication for ant agribusiness manager or supervisor. Effective managers make it clear that they want their employees’ feedback and that their comments about the workplace and job performance are welcome any time.
Employees often have suggestions about how work can be performed more effectively and those suggestions should be heard and considered by managers and supervisors. Effective managers recognise that no one knows more about a job and the challenges of doing a job than the individual who performs that job every day.
Listening is an important way to show respect for employees’ contributions, abilities and ideas. Managers who put priority on taking the time to listen are more likely to identify improvements in job design and performance and earn the respect of those they supervise.
Provide training and development opportunities
Generally speaking, people want to improve their performance and want to become more competent than they are today. They want to grow, learn and become more valuable to themselves as well as to a current or future employer. In addition, employees enjoy doing what they do well.
Training can be conducted internally or off-site. Regardless of how training is done, it is important to reinforce training on the job on a daily and weekly basis, until the employee has mastered a particular skill. Some managers fail to get the best results from their training dollars because there is no follow-up to reinforce training. This is especially true of off-site training. If you send an employee to a class or seminar off the farm, be sure to that a manager or supervisor meets with the person following the training to discuss what was taught and how it can be implemented on the job.
Build loyalty and reduce turnover
Managers and supervisors wanting to build loyalty and reduce turnover need to:
- Find what makes employees tick and happy, and see (within reason) that their needs are met
- Look after staff morale and address concerns openly, honestly and with care
- Maximise staff contributions through workplace policies and grievance remedies that have resonance
- Reward effort and consistently high quality output by providing flexibility, training; and most of all
- Be open and sensible about employees’ career paths.
An engaged employee who feels there’s room to flourish and who is listened to and rewarded accordingly will add considerably to any agribusiness’s bottom line. If you care, they will care to stick around and in turn, care for what you are building together.
Source: Meat Processors Pty Ltd