This program is a series of 7 modules, each standing alone as its own section, but better together.
Each module includes the following materials:
- Short lecture presentation
- Interactive activities or simulation
- Additional resources for further learning
Module 1: From Managers to Leaders
Are you a manager or leader? What’s the difference between the two? Do you want to rally and engage your employees for better performance or do you just want to tell them what to do? Managers and leaders have a place in farm human resource management, it just depends on what your goals are.
This module will address the following key questions:
- How can leadership be exercised?
- What are the benefits of great leadership?
- What is/are the best ways to exercise leadership in the context of a/your farm?
- How are you exercising leadership on your farm?
- How can you improve and build your leadership skills?
Module 2: Hiring the Right People
The hiring process begins with job analysis and job descriptions. An important instrument in the tool box of a farmer or human resources manager is the written job description. Written job descriptions can help determine the skills needed for a position and also determine if the position is needed. This program will help you get started in writing a job description that allows you to define and evaluate the job, improve communication of job expectations, and efficiently manage work load and employees.
A well-written job description will lead to better interviewing. It’s important that one uses the interview process to reveal and applicant’s skills, abilities and thought processes related to the job requirements. A well-defined job allows one to ask the type of interview questions that are specific to the requirements, and communicate the expectations of the job.
The Hiring the Right People Module is designed to assist a farmer or HR manager through the hiring process by providing information, practical experience, and resources for writing a job description and performing an interview. Using the recommended practices can help reduce miss-hires and improve employee performance.
Module 3: The Farm Business Culture
No two farms are alike because the people who make up the farm team are unique! People bring with them a myriad of experiences and cultural identities to their workplace. And farms are no different as owners, managers, and employees contribute to the farm’s culture.
The culture on a farm may not be obvious or visible, but it’s there. It’s often overlooked in employee management but is just as important as hiring practices or giving feedback because the farm culture affects the day-to-day operation of the farm and the relationship between manager and employee. The farm culture represents “the way things get done around here” and it can be positive or present a challenge for employees.
The Farm Business Culture Module is designed to assist a farmer or HR manager to identify characteristics of their farm’s culture and ways to build a healthy farm business culture for improved employee management. Through activities and assessment tools, farmers or HR managers will learn what culture is, common characteristics of culture on farms, how it impacts employee management, and what elements are necessary for a healthy farm business culture. It’s important to create a healthy farm business culture because it can improve employee engagement, motivation, and reduce poor productivity and turnover.
Motivated and engaged employees are key to the success of a business. Happy, driven employees perform better, are more creative, and deal with stress more effectively, as research has shown.
The level of motivation and engagement of employees, while somewhat hard to measure, is important for managers to be aware of. Sometimes employees are not a good fit for their position or the farm, or sometimes there is an external situation happening in the employee’s life. Most often though it’s the workplace environment which contributes to poor morale and low drive among employees. While managers cannot make an employee motivated, they do have control over the environment where the employee works. By promoting a workplace where autonomy, relatedness, and competence – needs of every employee – are valued, motivation and engagement will follow.
The Developing a Motivated Workforce module is designed to assist a farmer or HR manager to cultivate an environment where employees are engaged and motivated to succeed in their jobs. Through activities and assessments, farmers or HR managers will identify factors to employee motivation and engagement, become aware of the different types of power that exist in relationships, and work through issues that tend to arise when employees are disengaged. Improving employee motivation can reduce turnover, poor performance, and conflict in the workplace.
Building a vision and on-boarding are the key elements and basic foundation for successful leadership. By setting the employee up for success in their first six months on your farm, managers are building employee capacity to succeed in their job.
The Strategic Leadership & On-Boarding module is designed to assist a farmer or HR manager to set their employees up for success by focusing on the vision for the farm and developing a good on-boarding process for new employees. Through activities and assessments, farmers or HR managers will begin to create a vision for their farm, identify best practices for employee on-boarding, and understand the needs of new employees. Effectively communicating expectations to employees upfront can reduce improve retention, increase employee engagement, and reduce poor performance.
Feedback is an important part of the process for employees to know how well they are doing and if they are meeting your expectations.
Employees have two questions: 1)What is expected of me? and 2)Am I meeting the expectations? Not knowing the answers to these questions cause stress to employees and can affect performance. Reviews and feedback offer you the opportunity to answer both those questions, reduce employees’ stress and improve performance.
The Keeping Good Employees: Reviews and Feedback module is designed to increase the awareness and comfort level of farmers and farm managers in giving more effective feedback to their employees. Activities will assist with distinguishing between the three types of feedback, and when each is appropriate. This module also covers the principles of providing incentive pay.
Conflict can happen anytime and in any organization.
Ensuring you have the right people on your team is the first step towards mitigating conflict. It doesn’t keep conflict from happening, but starting with a good team goes along way to making the ride smoother. If conflict does arise, then having a process to manage it so the relationship and trust is retained is vital.
The Managing Conflict Module is designed to give farmers or HR managers a process in which to deal with conflict with or between employees on their farm. Farmers or HR managers will learn about effective communication strategies and use a conflict management model to work through situations of conflict which can happen on a farm.