An employee satisfaction survey of 296 employees on 30 New York dairy farms indicates that workers find employer feedback the least satisfying part of working on a dairy farm.

Conducted in 1999 by Cornell University, the survey talked with workers employed at dairy farms ranging in size from 500 to 1,500 cows. The survey asked employees to rank the following aspects of their work: job variety, task identity, or the relevance of their work to the overall dairy business; autonomy, or a sense of ownership about their work; and feedback from their employer on the following scale:

  • One = very satisfied
  • Two= somewhat satisfied
  • Three= somewhat dissatisfied
  • Four= unsatisfied

Task identity scored the best satisfaction ranking of 1.52. Autonomy, variety and feedback scored 1.81, 1.88, 1.92, respectively. The overall job satisfaction ranking by employees was 1.79.

Researchers note that while many factors, such as job variety, are hard for producers to improve, the poorest scoring area — feedback — is an area where producers can influence employees’ satisfaction level by communicating with them more about their job performance.