Engaged nutritionists — those who have a passion for what they do — want to work with farms that have engaged feeding crews.

While it’s mainly the responsibility of the farm’s owners and managers to keep employees motivated, the nutritionist can have an influence.

Five key manager behaviors to building employee engagement, as outlined by leadership coach Jorge Estrada at this week’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.

Relationship-building and leading by example are certainly within the realm of the nutritionists who work with feeders and other farm personnel.