PEOPLE POWER: Job satisfaction, productivity
Make your dairy ‘extraordinary’ and ‘superior’
by ROBERT MILLIGAN
Dairy businesses should strive to have employees with “extraordinary job satisfaction and superior productivity.” It’s is a tall order, but it is within the reach of managers and businesses.
The formula for meeting this status can be derived from our recent discussions of strategy and supervision. Achieving extraordinary job satisfaction and superior productivity requires the leadership and management of both business leaders/partners and those who serve as supervisors. My suggested formula is:
True urgency culture + outstanding supervision/coaching = extraordinary job satisfaction/superior productivity
Success in attaining a “true urgency” culture requires outstanding leadership by dairy business owners. Success in the supervision/coaching portion of the equation requires a team effort by all supervisors, backstopped by a commitment from the business leadership.
‘True urgency’ culture
Last month, I contrasted false urgency and true urgency (adapted from A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter).
The key to a “true urgency” culture is that every member of the dairy workforce – owners, family members and employees has 1) autonomy, 2) relatedness and 3) competence. There is increasing agreement among human resource experts that autonomy, relatedness and competence are the keys to employee engagement and work passion.
1) Autonomy requires employees have some degree of control over their work actions; they have the chance to make decisions. The realization that employees perform best when they control their actions is the distinguishing characteristic of modern supervision. This control provides the needed autonomy.
2) Relatedness is our need as human beings to relate to other human beings. At work, this means social interactions are positive and encouraged. The need for relatedness stems from the three “people attributes” not found in crops and livestock – think, speak, feel.
3) Competence requires mastery over the requirements of the position; it satisfies the human need to learn and grow.
The diagram below describes the ingredients – most provided by the supervisor – that contribute to employee performance, and have the potential to result in employees with extraordinary job satisfaction and superior productivity.
A high-performing employee, obviously, has great productivity, but that is only one piece of employee performance. High-performing employees also have great motivation, engagement (even passion) for the success of the dairy business; and great trust with their supervisor and dairy leadership.
Note that the needs of the employee (the middle column) to achieve this high performance include, but are not limited to, compensation. The conclusion of 12: The Element of Great Managing (supervising) hits the nail on the head: “The power of money is limited by itself. It works only in combination with all of the non-financial drivers of employee engagement.” Those drivers – employee needs in the middle column – do not happen by accident. Their provision requires that highly skilled supervisors have and take the time to meet these needs.
True Urgency Culture + Outstanding Supervision/Coaching
The following three human resource strategies are critical to both parts of our formula, and probably central to having employees with extraordinary job satisfaction and superior productivity:
• Work must have meaning for each workforce member. This requires shared vision, a recognition that everyone is important, encouragement, and positive feedback. Every employee must answer “yes” to two questions: “Am I safe?” and “Do I feel valued?”
• Everyone must “have a seat at the table,” meaning their ideas are encouraged, expected, and seriously considered.
• Every dairy workforce member is committed to personal growth to learn more about themselves, others, the business, the industry and their specialty.