It’s no secret: work is hectic and often the practice of good communication is put by the wayside. This is because real communication takes effort and thoughtfulness, which not every farm manager has time for. However, the importance of adequate and real communication with employees cannot be overstated. It not only creates a sense of unity, but it also improves morale and enjoyment for employees.
Here are a few easy ways to improve communication with your employees:
- Make a point to stop by and visit with them during the day or week. I always appreciate that my boss tries to stop by my office at least once a day, and if she can’t make that happen, she always makes a point to stop by and chat for a significant amount of time once a week. It shows me that she cares about what I’m working on and what I have going on in my personal life, and I in turn can get to know her better by asking her about hers.Hold a weekly or monthly staff meeting. Meetings aren’t always effective if not done right, but face-to-face contact is important for team members to stay in the loop about what’s going on and who’s working on what. This clarifies any misconceptions and allows questions to be answered. It also enforces team bonding. I work in a company with employees across the continent and we do a team retreat once in a great while that I really appreciate because it allows us to meet and connect with employees we don’t see on a daily basis.
- Create a communicative culture. Make it easy for your employees to come to you. Be available and keep your door open. If your employees work in a separate area from you (such as a barn or a shop), make a point to make a round once in a while just to show that you’re there to answer questions or take concerns. Don’t spend all your time on your phone or in your office. Employees should be able to come to you if they feel it is necessary.
- Answer emails and phone calls. Nothing is more irritating than a manager who can’t respond to emails. If your employee has a question or needs some guidance/approval on what they’re working on, try your best to respond within twenty-four hours. If you don’t, it sends a clear message that you are too busy and important for the work your subordinates are doing.
- Relay important announcements. I always feel out of the loop and less of an asset if everyone else in the office seems clued in on something big that’s happening within the company but I didn’t. Either send out an email to the team letting them know about what’s going on or better yet, personally speak with each member or small groups of team members in order to allow questions to be asked and answered.
Commit to clear and effective communication. Your employees will thank you and your farm business will thrive.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.