Ten Thoughts about Employees

Editor’s Note: This week’s post is from guest blogger Chris Blanchard, an organic farmer and farm consultant based in Iowa. Through Flying Rutabaga Works, Chris offers consulting to organic and small-scale farmers on effectiveness and productivity, marketing, business planning and development, post-harvest handling, food safety, greenhouse crop production, and more. 

  1. Happy employees are productive employees – and productive employees are happy employees.
  2. The right tools plus the right people equals maximum productivity.
  3. The boss sets the tone and sets an example.
  4. The boss is never tired. Even if she is.
  5. Be certain going in that what you say you want is what you really want. If you have a partner, discuss this with them.
  6. Some people are fast. Some are not. You probably can’t do much to make dramatic changes, so figure it out before you hire. After you hire, either find a way to deal with what you’ve got, or change what you’ve got. Only two choices.
  7. Be clear about goals and be clear about standards- and make those standards quantifiable. 50 bunches per hour. No more than 3 cercospora leaf spots on a Swiss chard leaf.
  8. Be certain. Don’t tell people to “do their best”… describe best. Don’t make a big deal about changes in procedures- it makes even good employees think they know as much as you.
  9. Poor performance by one employee drags management and labor down.
  10. If you have a partner, be certain you agree on goals and procedures. Anything else encourages dissent and confusion.

Learn more about Chris and check out his blog at Flying Rutabaga Works website.

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The UVM Extension New Farmer Project draws together information and resources within Extension and the broader Vermont Agriculture community to assist new farmers in creating successful ag businesses.
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