Dairy Coach: How big is your rookie window?
By Tom Wall
You just hired a new employee, maybe a new milker, maternity pen worker or a feeder. How long do you think it will take “the new guy” to really know what he’s doing? How long will it take for him to work on his own, without making foolish “rookie” mistakes?
Let’s face it, you’ve been there before. Almost every time you hire new employees, they’re unsure of what they’re doing, making mistakes as they learn their new job. This period from when someone starts to when they truly know what they’re doing is what I like to call the “Rookie Window.”
During the Rookie Window there are two things going on. First, your rookies are working hard, trying to learn. Second, however, there’s the pressure of trying to keep up with their faster, more experienced co-workers. Combine the lack of skill and knowledge with pressure of time, and corners get cut, cows get sick, gates get smashed – and you pick up the bill.
Although it’s a necessary, unavoidable period that all new employees at every level of your business need to go through after you hire them, the duration of the Rookie Window can make employee turnover even more expensive than it need be.
How long should the Rookie Window last? That depends on how much training and support you provide new employees when you hire them. If the new guy just gets “thrown in there” with little or no training and is expected to learn as he goes, his Rookie Window will last a lot longer. But, if you’re committed to properly training your new employees as soon as they start, they’ll be more productive, make less mistakes, and know what they’re doing a lot sooner.
Help make the Rookie Window at your dairy as short as possible. Help your team help you; make it a priority to teach them how. p
• Dairy CoachTM Tom Wall helps people reach their potential, training employees and coaching dairy managers on how to implement simple systems that work. For more coaching tips, check out www.dairycoach.com.