Honestly, what keeps you awake at night as a farm manager or owner regarding people? Do you need to make changes, but realize that people are not engaged? Or have you hired an employee you thought was wonderful and one week later he is delivering less than he should?
The answer to these questions boil down to one single question: “why do I need to invest in people?” You must do it for three basic and fundamental reasons: to gain productivity. You will double the production and profit of your farm when you find skilled people. To have in your team, at the same time, productive and resilient people, that is, who are able to learn from difficulties. And to have a high level of engagement and participation, that is, people who make things happen.
Regarding people, we are moving from ordinary management to an increasingly smarter management with a focus on knowledge. This means that you can no longer be a manager who plays checkers, who treats the whole team the same way and communicates and engages the same way. Now you must be a manager who plays chess, that is, who knows the differences between his team members and who is able to deal with each one of them individually. After all, to differentiate your business in the market you, the manager, must have in your team people who are innovators and doers.
But what is the difference between motivation and engagement?
A common mistake made by managers in Brazil is to mistake motivation for engagement and many companies resort to magicians, tree-hugging and all sorts of group activities to motivate their employees. However, this motivation lasts only for a few days. Why? Because motivation is intrinsic, it is individual and you cannot touch it.
Engagement, on the other hand, is a functional and emotional commitment that is catalyzed and stimulated by enhancing the potential and performance of your talents. Usually these are the employees you can rely on at the farm, those you know will solve problems and go beyond the tasks they are supposed to carry out.
Therefore, you need engaged people in your business and the two main elements of engagement are progression and sense of fairness. Thus, you should bear in mind that people perform and engage in different ways. Consequently, assess your talents not for what they know and say, but for what they actually do.
Therefore, if you want to improve the engagement and performance levels of your team, you must continuously tell them what your goals are and align your expectations with their expectations.
Types of engaged people
There are basically three types of people in companies: those who are engaged, those who are not engaged and those who are disengaged. Those who are engaged deliver well, are focused and have the extra energy to do things. This is usually the kind of employee you can rely on at the farm.
Those who are not engaged are the employees who are needed at the farm, who work well, but who do not do anything that is not part of their job. They are not able to perform tasks that are strategic or not part of their routine.
Those who are disengaged, in turn, are those employees who deliver below the average and usually give excuses in the process. They usually bring more problems than solutions.
How can we work with these three profiles?
1st – Assess the engagement and competence of every employee by talking to them in order to understand their level of engagement.
2nd – Get rid of ambiguities, bureaucracy and disorganization.
3rd – Help your employees improve. Work on meritocracy.
4th – Lead by example as a manager. Do your part. Be a coach to your team.
In practice, uniqueness will improve performance and engagement but, above all, it will enhance knowledge. Thus, it all depends on how you will manage your team so that they are increasingly productive and engaged.
Text based on a lecture given by Eduardo Carmello at INFO360 2016.
Quick question: have you gathered your team this week to assess production and to find solutions for the problems in your farm? If your answer is yes, congratulations! You are part of a still small group of pig farmers that started changing a critical cultural issue: the lack of time dedicated to discuss management.
We have observed that there often is communication among teams; however, in general, it consists of quick chats among a few workers during break time. The result is that much information and actions taken are lost, and consequently there is lack of coordination, increasing the chances of mistakes and rework, which negatively affects productivity.
To overcome this problem, we suggest you schedule at least one weekly meeting to talk about management, preferably on a fixed day and time to discuss farm workflow and production performance. You will soon realize the benefits of this simple practice: workers’ commitment with their tasks, better work relationships, problem solving, and goal achievement are just some of them.
What should you talk about?
One of the main concerns of managers with weekly meetings is wasting time. After all, everybody has always ‘other fish to fry.’ This vision is opposite to Thinking +1, because we are sure that every minute dedicated to discuss management issues and planning with the team results in time – and money – savings.
Once you establish the meeting schedule, you’ll realize that there is no lack of issues to be discussed. To guide the discussions, it is best to assess the deliveries of each sector, and particularly the points where the planned goals were not achieved. After identifying the critical points that prevent the farm from achieving its maximum production potential, you need to establish together a set of actions to solve each of the identified bottlenecks.
This process is much easier when visual management tools are used, as they allow all workers to understand and interpret information on farm productivity. For instance, when the whole team analyzes the Production Map during a meeting, the critical points are quite evident and it is much easier to define actions and the people responsible to solve them.
It must be noted that the objective of the weekly meeting is to produce alignment and harmony within the team – and not the opposite. As a leader, never allow the meetings to be associated with a negative time, of stress and disagreements, of looking for culprits for the farm’s problems. The aim is to look for solutions, not for someone to blame.
Another useful tip: stimulate the workers to express their opinions, as well as their achievements and difficulties. Some may be shy in the beginning, but once people realize they can speak out, that their ideas are welcome, they become increasingly at ease. When all participate, you farm harvests benefits!
What about you? Do you schedule regular meetings with your team?
If you are a leader in your farm, you have certainly already realized that only when people are motivated and engaged they will search for excellence in the processes where they are involved. Usually, an engaged team is more committed to results, so that everyone works towards a common goal: the success of the business.
In order to identify and encourage this attitude among the workers at your farm, you must be able to know the difference between motivation and engagement. Motivation is the result of a series of reasons and personal beliefs, whereas engagement is what makes individuals search for a common goal where they work together. In practice, it is what makes people align their interests with those of the business and together look for common solutions.
Therefore, we could say that engagement is guided by motivation. So, it is up to you to find out what motivates farm workers, so that they engage in your project and try to achieve professional and personal success and the success for the business as a whole.
In the daily routine of pig production, rather simple practices are important to engage people. Everything tends to be better, for example, when a new coworker is properly prepared to perform his activities and is welcome by team, who will explain to him what the farm goals are, making clear how everyone’s jobs contribute to the end result.
Additionally, engagement is based on relationships of trust, respect and transparency that are established among team members and the leadership. In order to strengthen these relationships, follow the tips presented below:
1) Hold participatory meetings with your employees, preferably every week, giving them an opportunity to understand the overall performance of the farm and suggest areas for improvement.
2) Establish a transparent, clear and consistent communication with all those involved in production. This whole process benefits greatly from the use of visual management tools that allow everyone to get to know and interpret information on farm productivity. When the team is looking, for example, at a Production Map during a meeting, the critical points stand out and it becomes easier to set actions and define who will be in charge of solving them.
3) Never leave your coworkers without an answer or with doubts regarding the purpose of management and the goals set for the farm.
4) Encourage, stimulate and work on training of your team for the performance of activities and also for their professional development. The better prepared the team members are, the more engaged they will become.
Be assured that these four attitudes, which are not complex at all, will help you build a highly committed and efficient team. The more engaged with the business your team members are, the more they will work together, aligned and focused to reach your goals. When everyone feels they are important for the achievement of the final result, because they know their role and their share of contribution, the business will be positively impacted in different ways:
• The team will work with a focus;
• Less waste;
• People will unite towards the goals;
• Increased productivity;
• Overall improvement of farm results.
So, be assured that an engaged team will be much more productive!
Please tell us: how do you encourage the engagement of your coworkers?