Audit Your Culture

February 24, 2016 02:44 AM

Ensure your farm business attracts and retains employees

No magic bullet exists to create the best place to work. Sure, compensation, incentives and benefits play a part. Yet as recruitment and retention of first-class employees becomes more difficult in your part of the country, evaluating and creating a strong company culture is imperative. 

“Today, people see workplaces as more of a community,” says Bob Grace, a partner at The Leadership Effect, a St. Louis-based leadership- development firm. “It’s not just about a paycheck. Employees want to work at a place where they can marry up their skills and abilities with an organization.”

Culture is hard to define, but your employees notice it. 

“It is about the little things you do when nobody is looking,” Grace says. “You can and should write down your values, but people really pay attention to what you do.”

As your business grows and your responsibilities evolve, it’s important to be aware of your operation’s culture, says Michelle Painchaud of Painchaud Performance Group, a human-performance consulting firm in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 

“As you move into the strategic level, you sometimes lose touch of the culture,” Painchaud says. 

Perform a culture audit. “People will fake culture when you’re around, so you want to know what the real culture is on your farm,” she says.

At a minimum, Painchaud says, aim to conduct a culture audit every two or three years.

Ask Your Team These Culture Questions

Just like financial progress or yields, you should measure your operation’s culture. Michelle Painchaud of Painchaud Performance Group suggests polling your team with some simple culture audit questions. 

1. What do you like most about being an employee here?

2. What do you like least about being an employee here?

3. What is one word you would use to describe our company’s culture?

4. As an employee, what does the company do to help you feel valued?

5. Describe the leadership in the organization.

6. Do you feel the team works together to accomplish goals?

7. Do you know the vision and mission of the organization? If so, what is it?  

8. Do you have all the tools and training you need to be a high-performing and engaged employee?

9. What do you need from us to provide you with more feedback, coaching and guidance to ensure you’re successful?

10. If you were the owner of this company, what three things would you do to make it the best place to work?


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