Farm owners want engaged employees — the kind who will go the “extra mile” with a passion for what they do.

Encourage employee ‘engagement’And, it’s certainly within their power to create, nurture and motivate engaged employees.

Five key manager behaviors to building employee engagement, as outlined by leadership coach Jorge Estrada at last month’s Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin business conference, are:

• Building trust.

• Setting goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).

• Being communicative and providing feedback. “People need to know if they are doing great, but also need to know when they are screwing up,” Estrada said.

• Holding employees accountable.

• Providing recognition.

Employee behavior is often influenced by how effective their supervisors are in recognizing and rewarding achievement, Estrada pointed out.

In the same presentation, Minnesota dairy producer Bob Hennen said his father created passion and engagement by teaching and leading by example.

“We need to build relationships and trust with employees,” he said.