Recruitment: Four ways to improve staff performance

Sheep Central, January 15, 2015

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  • Ladysmith Feedlot – Livestock Hands
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sheep handling

THE success of workers directly impacts on the success of the business, as employees play a critical role in contributing to overall business performance.

With this is mind, this time of year is a great opportunity for beef industry managers and business owners to reconnect with existing staff, particularly as most workers will be returning to work after the holiday break.

It is also a time in which businesses can connect with new workers about to come on board, as beef production demands increase during the coming months.

With employee performance important for commercial success, the following tips offer some simple ways in which beef supply chain businesses of any size and type can boost performance and maintain engagement of their staff:


Ensure employees understand their role

Some workers will thoroughly understand their job, while some may only have a basic knowledge of what is expected of them.

Whether beef businesses are employing experienced full-timers or casual/contract staff, taking the time to meet individually with new recruits and clearly define their role and responsibilities can assist new workers to start on the right foot.

For some larger businesses, this may be undertaken through an induction, in which new workers will discuss the details of their role, company policies and procedures, safety requirements and meeting other team members. For others, this may take place through one-on-one meetings.

Either way, meeting with new employees can be extremely beneficial in not only establishing rapport and engagement, but also promoting company culture by ensuring workers understand how their role and responsibilities directly contribute to achieving the goals and objectives of the business.

Remember, the benefits go both ways, and be sure to ask new workers how they perceive their role and responsibilities, what they career goals and aspirations are and determine what needs to be done to help them achieve those goals.

Having a clear understanding of one’s role and a plan to progression are essential to employment engagement and development.


Encourage professional development and offer basic training

Providing team members with the opportunity to learn means workers are constantly developing their knowledge and expertise and remain engaged and interested.

The success of team members means success for the business and providing the opportunity for workers to develop can significantly boost their engagement with not only their job but the business as a whole.

Depending on their current skills and knowledge, offer opportunities to build their experience and competency for future roles.

These may include:

  • Assign greater responsibility: Broaden an employee’s horizons by giving them greater responsibility on special projects or procedures outside of their normal role. By doing so, not only will workers feel valued within the business, they will be putting their newly acquired skills into practice and building the confidence and motivation to develop.
  • Shadowing a manager: Workers will gain new insights into other roles and business areas by shadowing a co-worker or manager. For example, a junior stockman may learn what it takes to lead the pack by spending time with the station’s head stockman.  Whether this occurs for an hour a week or one day every month, either way, not only will workers learn what other roles entail, they can also establish working relationships with senior management and colleagues outside of their team.
  • Training programs and classes: In some positions, additional qualifications may be required in order to move up the ranks and progress into a new role. For example a beef processing worker may undertake a management qualification or training course in preparation for moving into a management role, where they will lead junior staff.  By enrolling workers in training programs delivered either internally within the business or externally through registered training organisations, workers will gain the knowledge and qualifications needed to take the next step in their development and motivated to put their newly learned skills into practice.

Remember, align training and development opportunities to the employee’s strategic goals and emphasise how their growth contributes to the business.


Pair an employee with a Mentor

Mentoring is a great way to maintain engagement and improve staff performance in any business.

Partnering an employee with a suitable mentor who can provide career advice and direction on developing new skills in the area which relates to the employee’s overall development goals can be extremely beneficial.

While the opportunity for mentoring may differ from business to business, having a senior team-member act as a mentor allows a business to use existing talent to impart their knowledge and skills to another worker. It also offers the worker the opportunity to participate in an interactive learning environment in which goals can be discussed.

If there is an opportunity for an employee to participate in mentoring, be sure to identify the purpose of the mentoring and how will it be implement, who would be the best-fit for a mentor, and define clear goals that can be measured to ensure both the employee and mentor can evaluate progress.


Catch up regularly

Checking-in with workers regularly is key for developing staff, and provides a great opportunity to review goals and set new ones.

Create a positive, approachable and supportive environment where the staff-member’s achievements are recognised and celebrated, and honest and constructive feedback is given on areas where further progress may be required.

Using this time effectively to plan new goals and any future training or development opportunities can improve employee engagement and performance. As a manager or business owner, be proud of your workers’ success and celebrate that you have helped them achieve their goals.

Whether a small-scale beef cattle enterprise with a single employee, or a larger feedlot or processing business, employee engagement is an important aspect of business operations and human resources in which both employees and businesses alike can benefit.




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