Staff- Expense Vs Asset


Overwhelmingly in the dairy industry, finding successful farms producing skilled goal driven labour is put down to the
employers of staff that had built up solid management systems, invested in improving their skills, and provided them with the tools to allow them to analyse and improve their areas of farming.

Investment in staff results in lower staff turnover as people felt valued, challenged and motivated.

All to often we come across farmers in our communities who under-invest in their staff and management systems with a resultant impairment in efficiency, profitability and staff satisfaction; the beginnings of a downward spiral.

A common reason for the under-investment is that farmers often see spending in these areas as an expense rather than an investment. 
The feeling that taking a risk will result in a loss is a mindset that is warranted, yet one that employers need to get away from; usually it is waiting for staff to make the first move in displaying an attitude or qualities to prove an investment in them is worthwhile- this is employers setting themselves up for failure. 

Employment of quality staff is not luck; it is research, creating incentive, and instilling intuition.

There are several ideas I can suggest to help farmers to turn investment in staff from an expense into an asset.

Identify The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Key Staff

Utilising the skills and talent of the staff member brings.
Build up and discuss  issues when they arise so that not only will keeping an open pathway for honesty be strengthened, but constructive critiquing will improve and develop skills in areas they have yet to acquire experience in; taking criticism in a positive way is not only a skill to receive, but one staff need to develop to self critique with every task they are doing.
Sometimes roles do not suit their strengths, a variance in routine of role can have a beneficial outcome as new or seasoned workers find their natural pathway in the industry.

Start From The Ground Up

Get goals in place, Farmtask implores farming clients to ensure not only are your staff being paid sufficiently, but does the package include all the pathways for your staff member to succeed? Goals, Training and Performance based bonuses should be a cornerstone in any employment agreement, and one Farmtask actively promotes in theirs.


There are many proven personality traits that people generally fall into:

  • Structured and like to follow and adhere to predefined procedure

  • Creative and action orientated

  • Analytical and innovative

  • Idealistic and value orientated

Teaching new skills to staff through these individual methods applicable to the the employees learning traits can change how fast you can develop and display the skills and create a supportive dialogue in which to teach; a major hurdle in upskilling.

Investing in staff is never about giving staff everything the demand, its about supporting goals (even if they are non farming goals) and providing pathways to expand into within your farm, or the industry.

Successful farms require employers to look at their strengths and weaknesses, not just their staff.
Farm employers should periodically perform a self assessment of their own strengths and weaknesses, the skills required to create and grow a farming system often differ from those required to manage it once it is fully established; And the outcome of how your staff grow and develop in a job is a reflection on your attitude, investment, and support.

For more information on getting the best out of your current and/or future staff, contact Farmtask today to get advice, getting you on task with the best.