Farmworker Appreciation Day on August 6 is a reminder to employers to acknowledge the great work their employees do and contribute to the farm business.

Ashley Primrose

This year has been a full-on one already and I am aware of many farmers across the country struggling to get the staff and support they need onfarm.

So, focusing on thinking about our current employees and ourselves, and taking the time to reflect on what we are doing onfarm, is important.

Think about what you are currently doing to support your staff and if there is anything that can be adjusted to support a great work environment.

No matter the business, employees feel more valued when they are paid competitively and have a good work-life balance. Also never underestimate the importance of simple things that can sometimes get overlooked like saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done or celebrating milestones.

Good communication is also key, so staff have clear expectations on what needs to be done, what is expected and what they are responsible for. To support this, consider having regular catchups, even when it’s busy, as in the long run this can save time and support staff morale.

As an employee, I really value when my manager takes an active interest in me. This includes knowing what I like and what my goals are both at work, and at home. It makes me feel more valued by my manager, which makes me more motivated to do a good job. I have also seen some great things farmers have been doing to support their staff throughout Taranaki.

This includes making sure the calving roster gives everyone time off during calving, having a cow shed lolly jar, and team breakfasts during calving. They also have a focus on encouraging social activities off-farm, or doing some fun team-building activities.

While farmers are coming up with creative and fun things to support team morale, they are also keeping on top of the day-to-day key aspects of supporting a positive work environment.

With my discussion groups I have also set up a wellbeing challenge during calving. This can be for themselves or shared with their team and includes things like a random act of kindness, trying a new recipe, giving your favourite cow a pat and having a meal with your farm team.

There is a wide range of things we can be doing to support our people throughout this busy season, especially since our people are our biggest asset.

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  • Ashley Primrose is DairyNZ consulting officer South Taranaki.