Joe and Marion are partners in a medium-sized dairy farm milking 310-340 cows.
The other members of their team are Mark and Nathan who work full-time, and Karen, who relieves on a part-time basis and also looks after the calves.
Recently, Joe has noticed that Mark and Nathan have been abrupt with one another. Nathan has become a little lax, turning up late and taking extended meal breaks. Mark has complained that Nathan isn’t pulling his weight.
Joe and Marion decided to do something about the situation. They arranged a meeting on a Monday morning when everyone was available and not distracted by critical farm chores. Joe began by saying that the farm was going well, but that he and Marion felt that things could be improved and that they were looking for suggestions. The group all began talking at once!
After some discussion it was apparent that there were differences of opinion within the group on the way things were being done on the farm. What’s more, there was tension between Mark and Nathan about who was in charge of the dairy. Nathan felt that Mark was not giving him enough encouragement and was too bossy. Nathan dealt with this by being defiant. Nathan also felt disgruntled by Marion taking over the calf rearing but expecting him to fill in when she was busy with the kids.
As a result of the meeting Joe realised that the roles and responsibilities needed more clarity and communication between people, especially when they shared jobs, needed to be improved.
Marion noted a need for a one-on-one meeting with Nathan. Both Joe and Marion thought that this would be good opportunity to start organising individual performance reviews for all of the staff. An element of the reviews would be clarification of each person’s role and, if necessary, amending their position description.
To help with communication within the team it was decided that the group would meet fortnightly and all staff would have input into the way things were done. A planning meeting for all staff was to be held at least twice a year to set goals for the farm’s performance. These goals would be monitored through the year and reported on at the fortnightly meetings.