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Labor Matters

RSS By: Dairy Today: Labor Matters, Dairy Today

Experts cover today’s key dairy labor issues and offer fool-proof techniques to optimize employee performance, sat­isfaction and longevity.

The Investment You May Be Overlooking

Mar 20, 2014

It can pay off in many ways for your dairy—and could save you millions.

Contreras Charles 2013By Charles Contreras, PeopleFirst™ business solutions manager, Zoetis

Do you remember your first day on the job? The uneasiness. The uncertainty. That’s how untrained employees feel every day.

Unfortunately, too many owners and managers view employee training and development as an expense rather than an investment. Sometimes they wait to make sure employees are staying with the operation long-term before spending time and money on training.

But what if you were to invest in training and development from the beginning? Employees would have more of a reason to stay. You would see decreased turnover and have committed workers who finish tasks and carry out procedures consistently and accurately.

Beyond improving worker knowledge and performance, effective, consistent training pays off in many ways for the dairy:

• More efficiency: No one will have to wait for instructions from owners or managers. You’ll have confidence that employees know how to operate effectively. And they’ll have confidence, too.

• Reduced turnover, better morale: Without proper training, you could be encouraging employee turnover by creating stress and discouraging development. By reducing workplace stress, you will make a workplace where people want to stay, learn and grow long-term.

• Improved production: Consistent performance throughout the dairy is key to producing high-quality milk. With a good training program, you’ll have dependable output regardless of employee experience. You’ll see more consistent compliance with protocols, and workers will know why following these protocols is important.

• Less risk: One mistake from an untrained employee could cost you millions. Administering the wrong product. Treating an animal incorrectly. These are the kind of risk factors that would be addressed during the training process. Why risk your company’s reputation?

• Operation growth: Having fully developed employees will allow you to focus on bigger strategic goals. When you have a system to bring people in, train them and get them up to speed, you can spread your attention across a larger area.

You can ensure consistency and improve your employees’ performance by formalizing training and leadership development at onboarding. Once you hire the right employees for your dairy, here’s what I recommend for establishing an effective training program:

• Deliver information regularly.
• Present information in a way workers can understand and remember.
• Make sure the length of training time is practical.
• Assess whether the training is working. Are workers more confident? Are they remembering what they learned?

Employees need to know how to do their jobs effectively to ensure the consistent and continued success of your dairy. Employees want to do a good job. Making time to develop a formal, consistent employee training and development program is not only valuable, it’s essential. Proper training communicates values, drives engagement and motivates employees to give extra effort from day one.

Charles Contreras is a business solutions manager for PeopleFirst™ at Zoetis. He works with cattle producers, equine business owners and veterinarians to meet their human resources, training, development and leadership needs. PeopleFirst is the industry’s first comprehensive human capital solutions program. These services were created in direct response to challenges customers expressed with managing today’s complex operations. For more ways to help develop your employees and dairy, talk with a certified consultant, such as the ones available through PeopleFirst or visit

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. ©2014 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. 

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