Mel Sheppard summed it up when she said some older farmers seem to ration words.
“They don’t aspire to use too many words a day," Sheppard said.
Is a grunt even a word?
With a background in training young people, and employment, Mel sees the disconnect between ‘old’ and ‘young’ styles of communication firsthand.
The younger generation is bought up in a world where they get instant feedback. NCEA is a series of small feedbacks, every couple of days. You can even get feedback before you hand it in.
Post a photo of your new sheepdog online – BOOM - instant likes and comments.
More regular feedback to young employees is key to keeping them engaged. It’s the way they work.
“Employee relationships is a five-day test match, not a T20 game – it’s a long game and we need to commit to the role as much as other parts of our business," she said.
Often farmers are great at growing stuff but, through their success, they buy the neighbour's block and suddenly need staff.
“They become an employer and a landlord and often don’t have any training in these things.”
Mel also sees a big gap in financial skills among younger people – both managing personal money but also the farm budget. Give them a go. Primary ITO has a series of training courses.
“Some farm managers have the title but don’t have access to the financial budget.”
Listen to Mel’s chat with Hamish and Rebecca for some insights into creating better boss/employee relations.