Employer giving instructions

It is no easy feat to manage labor on farms today. Owners sometimes struggle to recruit and keep talented employees, just as many businesses and industries across the country face the same challenges.

So, what's the difference between being successful and failing at the labor game?

Sydney Finkelstein, author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent, has studied the habits of highly successful people managers such as Bill Walsh, legendary NFL coach, and Mary Kay Ash, cosmetics powerhouse, to determine how these "superbosses" make their companies attractive to employees.

What Finkelstein found while researching these well-known leaders and business people is that they employ unique people strategies allowing them to identify and develop talent. Let's take a page from their playbook.

Finkelstein says superbosses make a point to hire intelligent, creative and flexible employees. They are not afraid to adapt positions to fit good hires and will accept high employee turnover as an opportunity to find new talent.

"Superbosses want people who can approach problems from new angles, handle surprises, learn quickly and excel in any position," Finkelstein said.

Once a superboss lands a talented hire, they work to develop that person as part of the company and as an individual. Finkelstein says they set high expectations that "go beyond pushing hard for results and instill a sense of confidence and exceptionalism in their people."

These great bosses mentor employees and set a steep learning curve in those they see as talented. Perhaps most importantly, they stay connected with employees even if their careers take them other directions.

So, as business owners and employers in agriculture, how can we channel our inner superbosses to foster working environments that attract and develop the best talent?

If you are looking for information about how other dairies engage their employees, check out the Hoard's Dairyman Round Table "These farms invest in their employees" on pages 118 through 120 in the February 25 issue.

To comment, email your remarks to intel@hoards.com.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
February 22, 2016
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