Engage the Team

Whilst I have been undertaking some of the AHDB Farm Resilience Fund reviews with farm businesses, it has become increasingly clear that managing people is a weakness for many farm businesses.  One of the main weaknesses is communication both ways, i.e., communicating your plans for the business both short and long term and receiving ideas and feedback from the team on the ground.

Listening to your staff and their feedback is an essential part of managing people.  They are likely to be carrying out the job on a day-to-day basis so will have some good ideas as to what could be changed or done differently.  Not using staff knowledge is one of the eight types of waste within Lean farming.

The following is an extract from one of the actions plans which focuses on increasing on farm communication and planning.

  • Business owner to plan forward on a weekly and monthly basis and convey to the team.
  • Start holding weekly team meetings on a Monday to review the previous week, update on what happened over the weekend and discuss the plan for the coming week.
  • Put up a whiteboard in a location that all team members will pass regularly.  This should be used for communication and include sections for:
    • Jobs to do: urgent, this month and during the year
    • Staff calendar showing weekly rota and holidays
    • Farm calendar showing key dates/events, e.g., calving start date, service start date.
    • Section to note down repair jobs to be done
    • Section to note down anything that needs to be ordered/picked up
  • Copy of milk prediction for the year and monthly costings if a dairy farm.
  • Section to identify any targets for the year and monitor progress, e.g., yield from forage or SCC.
  • Set up standard operating procedures, (SOP) for different jobs that are completed by more than one person, e.g., feeding calves.  This will ensure that the job is carried out the same, no matter who is doing the work.

If you can engage your team, communicate with them and listen to them, you are more likely to retain them within the business.

If you would like to discuss Lean Farming, please contact Phil on 07798 673665
or e-mail