Engaging and motivating your staff

Learn about the benefits and drivers of employee engagement, and find ideas for developing your own engagement strategies to keep your staff motivated and happy.

Back to: Managing people

Employee engagement is about having people who are committed to and enthusiastic about their roles in your farming business.

Engaged employees: 

  • Believe their contribution makes a difference and will invest extra time and effort into making the business successful
  • Are more productive
  • Are less likely to have accidents
  • Are more likely to stay with their employer
  • Are an asset to your farm

How can I engage my employees? 

Key drivers of employee engagement:

  • Effective leadership
  • Effective communication about what’s going on within the business
  • Belief in what the business is trying to achieve 
  • Clear role expectations
  • Opportunities for career progression
  • Opportunities to grow and develop
  • Regular feedback and dialogue with the employer
  • High-quality relationships with colleagues and managers
  • Recognition and reward for going the extra mile
  • Interesting and meaningful work
  • Autonomy and ability to make decisions about one’s own work
  • Work/life balance 

Engagement strategies 

Introduce weekly staff meetings. Meetings are very helpful for communicating important information, finding out what’s happening, seeking employees’ ideas and fostering a positive team culture.

Review your employee hours. How many hours are people working on average a week? How many days off do they have? Talk to employees about how their hours work for them and how they feel about their work/life balance.

Introduce a performance management system. Ensure employees clearly understand what they are expected to do, and the skills, knowledge and support needed to achieve these expectations. The most successful systems are simple ones. Ongoing coaching and mentoring, one-to-one catch-ups, review meetings and appraisals all help. 

Invest in training and development. Coaching, mentoring and on-the-job training are some of the most effective methods of developing your people. Take the time to share your experiences and insights, and match new starters with a buddy. Try to budget for external courses and formal qualifications; they are worth it in terms of productivity and retention. 

Involve your employees, ask their opinions and listen to their ideas. Their participation is essential for a positive workplace culture.

Recognise and reward staff for a job well done. Make a special effort to reward those who go the extra mile.  

Make people’s jobs more interesting. Daily tasks on the farm can become dull. Try to provide as much variety as possible.  

Give people the freedom to organise their own workload.

Foster a positive team culture. Organise shared meals and social activities outside work.