; Employee feedback as a means to improved employee management | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Employee feedback as a means to improved employee management

Phil Durst, S. J. Moore, F. D. Soriano, and E. Lansing


Dairy management on large farms is primarily about employee management. In many cases, employees are the ones who milk, feed, and provide the care of cows. Yet, management of people is generally an area about which dairy owners express a lack of knowledge and comfort. In 2012 a project was initiated to improve management of employees through feedback provided by employees in a survey administered through anonymous telephone interviews by a single bi-lingual interviewer. The objectives were to 1. Learn about the attitudes, concerns and perspectives of dairy farm employees, 2. Apply that information to management practices and choices, and 3. Recommend changes in management to better engage employees in the success of the operation. The authors developed a 29-question survey including rating scale and open-ended questions. Responses and comments were recorded by the interviewer and sent to the authors who prepared a report for the owners. The findings and recommendations were discussed in a farm meeting with the owner(s) and manager(s). To date, interviews have been conducted with 126 employees from 8 farms in three states representing an 82% response rate from these farms. Common themes indicate a failure to set and communicate clear goals, a failure to provide training even though employees report a desire to learn, and failure to provide feedback, especially positive feedback. We conclude that this method is effective in getting input that can impact employee management. Changes in management will be tracked over time and correlations made to turnover rate and productivity measures.