Employee management workshop

Name and Position/Title:
Russ Euken, Livestock Specialist; Terry Steinhart, Swine Specialist; Byron Leu, Beef Specialist; Denise Schwab, Beef Specialist; Jennifer Bentley, Dairy Specialist; Mark Storlie, Swine Specialist; Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist; Erin Ludwig, Family Resource Specialist; Dave Stender, Swine Specialist; Beth Doran, Beef Specialist; Chris Mondak, Dairy Specialist; Melissa O’Rourke, Farm Business Management Specialist;  Kris Yeske, County Sioux/Lyon Program Coordinator; Erin Herbold, Staff Attorney Center for Ag Law and Taxation

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
114 Human resource management
126 Farm legal and business planning
144 Improved beef cattle production and economic efficiency
154 Business management strategies
183 Farms, Communities, and Human Dimensions

Employee management workshop

Ag operations are getting larger and that requires additional labor that needs to be hired and managed. There are operations that have from 1- 10 employees that the owner operator is the person responsible for human resource management.  In many operations managers do not have a background or experience in managing labor and some indicate that managing hired labor is one of the most difficult parts of their business.  Without good management of employees the business may not be as productive as it could be.

What Did You Do?
A curriculum was developed using existing materials to help make operators aware of and better understand techniques and tools to help manage people.  The curriculum was tested in a pilot workshop. An agreement was made with a consultant to help deliver parts of the workshop.  A grant to help pay for expenses in developing and delivering the workshop was secured.  In addition to the grant partners were contacted to help promote the workshops. Additional extension specialists were contacted to help deliver four additional workshops. Two training sessions to help acquaint the other specialists with materials were held.  These workshops were held in Amana, Calmar, Sheldon and Estherville and 54 people attended the four workshops.

Participants in the four workshops were asked to rate their understanding and knowledge of several important aspects of employee management before and after the workshop. These aspects included communication, job descriptions, hiring process, legal issues, performance evaluation, employee motivation, compensation, and management style.  They ranked themselves on a 1-4 scale with 1 being no knowledge, 2 a little knowledge, 3 moderate level of knowledge and 4 a high level of knowledge. Across all workshops and topics participants said that before the workshop they said they had low to moderate level of understanding and knowledge. After the workshops they said they had closer to a moderate level of knowledge and understanding or approximately a 25% improvement on a numerical scale.
They were also asked how often they would make use of tools and techniques such as active listening, job descriptions, recognition, appropriate and effective feedback, communication plans and training plans related to employee management.  They could choose between never or almost never, sometimes, and often or always. Across all workshops and all topics participants said that before the workshop they would rank close to using the tools close to sometimes and after the workshop they said they would be halfway in between sometimes and often or always or approximately 50 % increase on an numerical scale on how much they would use those techniques.
Participants were also asked to rate how participating in the workshop would help them manage employees, changed their attitude about managing employees and improve employee and business performance.  They could select not at all, somewhat, or a great deal. 39 of 47 responses said it would help them manage employees a great deal and 30 and 31 said it changed their attitude and would improve employee and business performance a great deal respectively.
Some of the comments from those attending the workshop included:

Page last updated: July 18, 2011
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