Negative business and organizational cultures in U.S. workplaces are killing people and costing the economy millions of dollars. That’s because of stress and the ensuing decline in work performance and health care costs, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford University in some of his recent publications. “Job stress costs U.S. employers more than $300 billion annually and may cause 120,000 excess deaths each year,” he went on to say.

How much is stress costing you?

First, what do you know about organizational culture?

Maybe not that much.

It’s an abstract concept that is hard to grasp, except that we know it does matter because it affects employee satisfaction, retention, and performance. In this tight labor market, there is a high premium on having a positive farm culture.

But be aware, an organizational culture is not necessarily what the owner or manager wants it to be or what he or she hopes it to be. Rather, it reflects how your employees are experiencing their day-to-day activities.

How stressful is it for them to work at your farm? Unless you have trust and good communication with your employees, it may be hard to get a full and unbiased answer to that question.

Reflect on your farm
Ask yourself the following questions:
• Are the employees happy?
• Can they express their personality and be themselves?
• Is the work stimulating and allowing them to fulfill their career or life objectives?
• Do they feel safe, physically and emotionally?
• Or are they constantly feeling threatened because of negative interactions, feeling disrespected, having a fear of being judged, or dealing with conflicts with other employees?

Key motivators
For a lot of people involved in farming, the family values, the respect and trust embedded in family relationships, the pride in working hard for people, and the values that you held dear were all key motivators. They allow each employee to feel valued, to enjoy work, and even to work harder.

In this competitive job market, it may seem challenging to maintain that type of work environment, but healthy and stress-free employees may be worth the trouble.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
November 11, 2019
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