Agriculture Forum: Integration for Success | Business

The Associated Pressby Stan Moore

Bringing your employees (colleagues) “on board” is key to reducing turnover and improving productivity.

Many employers view employee onboarding and orientation as one and the same. However, while orientation is usually done in the first few days, integration can last from a few weeks to several months. Onboarding goes beyond teaching the person how to do the job, it focuses on coaching and setting them up to succeed in their job.

In her article “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success,” Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D., discusses how employers can assess the success of their onboarding process and the importance of becoming proactive in onboarding. new employees in your company.

Dr. Bauer describes proactive onboarding as covering not only job compliance and some job clarification, but also helping employees understand the company culture, connect with their peers and direct supervisor, and empower them. support them to succeed in their new role.

Wondering if your onboarding program would be considered proactive? Proactive integration is evidenced by: employees understand the job (skills); employees understand their role and how it contributes to the success of the business; employees connecting with other employees and their direct supervisor; employees work successfully within the culture of the organization.

Let’s face it, we all want to feel competent at our jobs. We don’t like to be put in a situation where we don’t have the knowledge and skills to succeed. When an employee is competent at their job, they will be more satisfied with their job, and we as employers feel more comfortable giving them the independence to do their job. Additionally, our research (Impacts of Employer Management on Employee Recruitment, Satisfaction and Retention in Large US Dairy Farms, by Moore et al. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 103 No. 9, 2020) shows that employees who are given the independence to do their job are more likely to intend to stay with their current employer.

Helping employees understand their role and how it contributes to business success are key factors in employee job satisfaction. Our research showed that employees were 1.57 times more likely to be satisfied with their jobs if they had clear goals and directions. Employees must not only know the protocols of their job, but also the “why” behind those protocols and how those protocols affect the productivity and profitability of the business.

There’s an old adage that employees hire at your company because of your reputation and they leave because of their relationship with their direct supervisor. Part of your onboarding process should include ensuring new hires have a positive working relationship with their team members and direct supervisor. Our research shows that these relationships are critical to both employee job satisfaction and their intention to stay with their current employer. Indeed, employees reporting a better relationship with their employer were 2.2 times more likely to be satisfied with their job and 1.6 times more likely to stay with their current employer!

According to Bauer, the fourth and final area of ​​a proactive onboarding program is “knowledge and integration into an organizational culture.” For some companies, it is necessary to identify the current culture before they can begin to help employees in this area. One way to look at culture is to determine “how we talk, interact, and work together to get the job done.” Once you’ve determined your company culture, you can decide if that’s the culture you want and intend to have, and if not, start making changes. Only then can you really help your employees know how to succeed in this culture.

In his article, Bauer shares the innovative idea of ​​sharing with employees what they can do to maximize onboarding success. Here are some suggestions for employees to take ownership:

  • Invest in relationship building
  • Solicit Feedback
  • Show success early on
  • Gather information – be a learner

How does your company’s onboarding measure up? Would you say it is well planned and “proactive”? If not, I would encourage you to spend some time this spring/summer working on the four components of a successful and proactive onboarding program. Time spent in this area will help you improve the productivity and profitability of your business, while building a team of dedicated people.

Rich Stup from Cornell University Extension has put together a great set of resources on integrating farmers. I encourage you to check them out at:

Stan Moore is an extension farm business management educator from Michigan State University.

Melvin B. Baillie