Ross Bishop

It’s that time of year when for many farm businesses, new employees are starting or existing employees are beginning new roles.

It’s fair to say that for both the employee and employer, adjusting to a new farm, or even a new role on a farm can take time and getting a smooth transition happening can be a challenge. Finding the time to create a well-organised system and workplan can pay off hugely.

In its most simple form, a workplan is a platform for mutual understanding between the employer and employee. It can be written up and kept in a personnel file, or for many farmers, it’s often something more casual like a regular conversation blocked out in the calendar.

I’ve seen my share of good and bad workplans and the best ones ultimately result in everyone performing at their best. I really believe that the best kind of workplan are the ones regularly monitored and reviewed by both parties.

Even better is when they include goals and set out the work required to achieve these goals. Making sure there are well-prepared employee job descriptions with clear performance measures so employees understand expectations and their responsibilities goes a long way to making sure everyone is clear on what everyone does.

We all want a team set up for success, so hopefully this information on workplans helps you in getting your team set for the new season.

I heard a recent Ballance Farm Environment Awards regional winner say that no matter how much desire and motivation you might have to achieve your goals, that without the right employees working in the right workplace environment, very few of their goals would’ve been achieved.

To these farmers, their staff are a major part of their success and goal achievement. An effective work-plan encapsulates all this by providing the whys and hows expected of employees.

  • Ross Bishop is a DairyNZ consulting officer based in Bay of Plenty