Digital tools increase worker engagement
Employee acquisition and retention is a big challenge on dairy farms. It takes a considerable investment to recruit and hire employees, and a larger investment when those employees decide to leave.
A key part of employee retention is keeping employees engaged with their work. Engagement is important to retaining valuable talent and maintaining employee satisfaction, as employees who are not engaged with their work tend to leave.
Employees become engaged with their work when they feel like they are involved and can measure their own progress. Giving them the right incentives and tools to not only complete their work but involve them in the process is part of engagement.
Data Can Drive Engagement
Data is a powerful tool to engage your most technical employees to increase retention, reduce the cost of onboarding, and achieve more. Digital tools, particularly mobile devices, use data to guide workers and streamline work. In addition, they allow efficient data collection of more relevant information to provide insights for everyone involved in your dairy’s success.
Digital tools can increase engagement by providing the proper guidance when needed. Guidance for tasks like hormone treatments is relatively straightforward on most dairies because protocols are well-defined and repeatable. Likewise, breeding technicians embrace having software tell them what semen to use when breeding an animal. If those same employees would have to evaluate various criteria at every breeding the increased cognitive load would waste time and cause unnecessary frustration. Onboarding is easier as well as new workers can focus on the basics when they don’t need a list of criteria. Because everybody wants to do the best job possible, providing guidance is key to engaging your team.
Access to Everyone
Traditionally, access to data is limited to managers who use the information to find opportunities for improvement. However, digital tools provide insights that can benefit everyone on your team. When everyone on the team can access their data, they benefit from immediate feedback. How many cows remain on a chorelist? What was my conception rate? Workers are more likely to manage their performance when they understand how to access their information. Removing barriers to information with prebuilt reports or intuitive data tools will increase engagement. With the correct information, technicians can take ownership over their performance.
Streamlining work leads to higher compliance and engagement by eliminating unnecessary steps that don’t create value and can add to frustration. Mobile devices collect information in real time as tasks become complete, eliminating burdensome office work later. Configuring applications to match workflows will also streamline work. For example, limiting the number of options for entry can streamline a job. It’s easier to lead with data when you spend less time managing it. .
When skilled workers relocate between farms, they can be frustrated by unfamiliar steps. Clarifying any steps helps onboard new employees. Mobile devices, in particular, can be used to simplify getting lists necessary for work and entry. Having a robust set of tools that everyone uses will help new people acclimate to new jobs.
John Vosters is a partner at MilkSource, LLC, based in Kaukauna, WI. MilkSource utilizes BoviSync for cowside data management. John summarized, “The employees embraced it a lot because it gave them easier ability to enter information cowside.” Employee engagement went up because work was easier.
Using digital tools to increase employee engagement will lead to higher compliance. Increasing compliance involves communicating a plan and providing the right tools to the dairy team. When communication is simplified, employees are free to focus on essential factors for success to reduce confusion. The impact of data on compliance is transparent to everyone. Digital tools, such as mobile apps and reports, unlock the potential of data to engage everyone in compliance. Highly engaged teams achieve the highest level of compliance.
“The employees embraced it a lot because it gave them easier ability to enter information cowside.” John Vosters