Challenge Your Team to Develop Goals

Goal setting can pay dividends in employee engagement. ( AgWeb )

You’ve no doubt reaped the rewards of goal setting on your farm. Through focus and some stick-to-itiveness, you’ve taken your operation to new plateaus of success. But, did you know goal setting can also pay dividends in employee engagement?

“Goals create alignment by uniting employees, managers and leaders around a common purpose,” says Rob Snarskis, customer success manager for Quantum Workplace, which provides employee engagement software. “They provide direction for employees on how to spend their time and make decisions.”

When everyone on your team is working toward personal and farm-wide goals, employees are motivated and energized, Snarskis explains. 

Realistic And Bold

At an annual performance review or the beginning of the year, help your employees create two or three goals. Aim for time-bound goals that are specific, measurable, achievable and relevant to the person’s role.

“You want to have realistic goals, but audacious goals that force you out of your comfort zone and increase job satisfaction,” says Cassie Whitlock, director of human resources at BambooHR, which provides human resources software. 

As you set goals, ask some pointed questions: Why aren’t you already doing it? Is it a worthwhile goal? How will you stay on track? 

“When employees feel like an organization is investing in their development, they bring that info back to their team, which can fuel higher performance,” Snarskis says.

Be sure to highlight how an employee’s goal aligns with your overall business goals. “Employees are much more engaged if they see how individual goals impact the organization,” he says.  

Be Your Farm's Chief Cheering Officer

Beyond goals, recognition is key for a dedicated team. “This is far from the greatest time for most farm owners,” says Bob Milligan, senior consultant at Dairy Strategies and former Cornell University professor. “Regardless, you don’t get a pass to neglect your responsibility as the CCO — the chief cheering officer.” Use these strategies.  

  • Provide encouragement. Home fans for sports teams cheer loudly whether their team is struggling or their team appears to have gained some momentum. “You need to do the same for your team,” Milligan says.
  • Give positive feedback. “Excellent and specific feedback encourages and motivates employees,” he says.  
  • Celebrate success. Just as teams and fans celebrate success, your farm team should enjoy victories. “Surprise rewards are powerful,” Milligan says. “These can be non-monetary or gift cards. They should be occasional surprises so that they do not become expectations.”

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