The people in your business can be your biggest asset, or your biggest expense.

Having good people in your business is a key element to running a successful operation. The more effective the people in your business are, the better the business will perform. And importantly, a good team can lead to a business that doesn’t require constant oversight by you (the business owner / manager), freeing up your time.

We’ve put together some key steps to help you create a ‘best practice staff management’ process (a great tool for setting up a high performing team, and also dealing with difficult staff). Explore these in detail below – and if you need more info, check out our webinars on Managing Challenging Staff and Creating A High Performing Team.


1. Complete a skills audit

The first step is to assess what skills you need, and what skills you already have. The best way to do this is to complete a stock-take of your business. Review key business areas and map out what roles are required to make the business run effectively. Then use this to create an Organisational Chart for your business – detailing who can fill each role.

It’s important to have at least a basic role description, along with some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each role. KPIs provide accountability and ownership over roles. Getting staff to help set and then sign-off on their KPIs is a great way to get them invested in the overall business goals, and allows them greater understanding of their role’s contribution in the bigger picture.

Finally, look to fill any gaps in your organisational chart. Perhaps you need to bring someone in, provide additional training to upskill people in the business (often much cheaper than a recruitment process), or look to outsource an area?


2 . Put the right people, in the right role

It’s important to understand where each of your team member’s strengths lie, and where they are most productive. Are they in a role that is utilising their strengths? Do you need to make any adjustments to match both a team member’s skills, and your business needs?

In all roles, there are certain tasks/areas that are less enjoyable or don’t come as naturally. Unfortunately, this is just a part of life. We aren’t suggesting that you adjust someone’s role so they only do the ‘fun’ tasks, as that would leave a gap no one wants to fill. Staff may still need to do tasks that they find slightly less enjoyable or more challenging (seriously, does anyone love doing bookwork?), even if these tasks aren’t their key strength.

However, in general, staff will perform better when working in a role where most of their tasks suit their strengths – that’s why the organisational chart, an assessment of strengths and weaknesses etc. is so critical. Getting your team members to undertake a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis can help them, and you, get clear on where they are most effective.


3. Consider the personality types

All team members have varying personality styles, with specific traits and characteristics. Some people may be action-oriented and want to simply ‘get up and get things done’, while others may be planners or thinkers, and want to take things slower to ‘develop a strategy’.

Each personality type will have its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as motivators. The key is to understand the various styles, to better manage your staff, both as a team and as individuals. (We use the e-DISC profiling system as a way of understanding these behavioural characteristics. It’s quite effective!)


4. Implement regular staff meetings and performance reviews

Getting your staff engaged and on-board with your business goals and vision is critical to running a successful agribusiness. A simple way to achieve this is through regular informal and formal catch-ups. This provides an opportunity for you to promote a positive team culture, and gives staff an opportunity express their concerns, and be empowered to make suggestions and decisions.

Routine performance reviews (at least bi-annually or annually) should also be undertaken. These offer a chance to pause and reflect on how team members are going – how did they perform against their KPIs?

Regular reviews provide an open and transparent process, and allow everyone to know where they stand. It also is a good way to support team members who may be struggling or underperforming, as you can discuss their performance and plan a path (goals) to get them back up to standard. Check out our Managing Challenging Staff webinar for more tips in this area.

What about for your business?

These tips are relevant for a farm or business of any size or structure – and are particularly important for family businesses. By following these tips and tweaking the way you manage your people, you can start improving staff performance, which we would expect to ultimately increase the productivity and profitability of your agribusiness.

Want to know more?

Here are a few other ways you can learn more about staff management:

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