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RUNNING a typical graingrowing operation, or a production or sales team in a larger agribusiness, is a lot like running a television show. A business owner is just like the TV show’s executive producer – responsible for the look, feel and overall direction of the production. But how do you achieve it?
A business owner is just like the TV show’s executive producer – responsible for the look, feel and overall direction of the production.
Your staff are your team and foundation, and a strong foundation can take your business to incredible heights.
While choosing members for your business team may sound easy, don’t be fooled. It takes a lot of work to find just the right people to make your business fulfil its real potential.
As we know, your business is only as good as the team that makes it work. So how do you source, attract and keep the best staff? Here are nine top tips:
Money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with oxygen
Know the market and make sure your people are paid competitively. Remember, replacing someone is costly. Offer extra incentives, but they don’t always have to monetary. And don’t underestimate the power of the perk: Get creative with possible benefits for a job well done.
We want to be wanted
Make sure your employees feel valued. Praise and thanks go a long way. If someone makes a mistake, work with them positively to prevent it happening again. And when someone has done a particularly good job, make sure everyone knows it.
Where possible, don’t hide things from the team. Be honest and straightforward and keep them in touch with what’s happening in the business.
Set clear expectations
The best way to make people miss targets is to blindfold them. Make sure you set clear and consistent expectations about goals, policy, hours, breaks etc.
Detailed employee manuals are good, but talking to people helps too. Decide whether that sort of communication would be better coming from direct supervisors rather than senior management (assuming your agribusiness is large enough to have multi-tiered management). Don’t forget, or put off, regular performance reviews.
Empower your people
If your team knows your expectations, then you’ll get the most out of them by allowing a reasonable amount of autonomy. If you treat people like grown-ups, they are more likely to behave like grown-ups.
Speaking of talking
Don’t forget to listen as well. Treat people with respect and make sure they know how they can raise problems or ideas. You never know – they might solve a niggling problem for you, or come up with the next big thing.
The right tool for the right job
Take that tip literally and figuratively: Make sure your people have the gear they need to do their job – and make you have the right people in the right roles.
Room to grow
Anyone can get bored if they do the same job for too long. Allow for job flexibility and consider job rotation for your team, where skill sets allow. There may be value in arranging for a feedlot pen rider to do some feed delivery bunk runs, or work in the mill occasionally. And you can help with those skills – make sure you allow opportunities for training and education. It’s another valuable investment in your business.
Your team should motivate you
Finally, as a manager, sometimes it is difficult to keep your energy up and stay positive. It’s a welcome thing if your team can inspire you and keep you going.
Whether you employ one or one hundred, when your team members are good at what they do, know their roles, and are creative and reliable, it frees you up to concentrate on the business’s big picture and next step.
Also worth considering when building your top team, know what you are looking for in a potential team member.
Create a list of requirements or a checklist of things you look for in a potential candidate. This says it all. Will he or she complete the task in a determined timeframe? How will he or she do it?
And when you’re hiring, trust your gut instinct. If you think something’s off about a potential hire, then move on to the next candidate.
Finally, sometimes when you are in your own business’s 24/7 grind, it is easy to forget that other people have their own lives.
Check in with your team periodically to see if they are happy with their positions and their future goals at the company. If you are concerned about them, they will be concerned about you.