Loud and Clear

September 17, 2009 07:00 PM

From their first day on the job, new employees need to learn how you want things done on your dairy, says Jeffrey Keown, Extension Dairy Specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Whether you do it yourself or have a trusted staff member explain it, make sure new hires know what's expected and how the chain of command works.

Keown offers this advice:
  • Because training is so important, spend two or three days with a new employee, thoroughly explaining all the fine points of the job. Show how the machinery works and run it while you're there. Give ample time to ask questions.
  • Explain work rules and define the hours the employee is expected to work. Define expectations for night work, emergency calls and off-hours.
  • Explain what happens if the rules are broken.
  • Set a six-month probationary period to be certain the employee-employer arrangement will work. During this time frame, make it clear that either you or the employee may terminate employment with no advance notice. "Everyone realizes that things are not just what they seem and everyone should be allowed to terminate employment during this time period without recrimination,” Keown says.
  • Set up job goals. Be certain that the responsibilities are realistic and that you don't expect too much from employees. Extra duties may be added after you have a better idea of the worker's abilities.
  • Explain the chain of command. Don't have employees report to two or more bosses. "This only causes confusion and disorder,” Keown says.
  • To foster a good working relationship, put rules and job responsibilities in print. Always have a written job description so a new employee knows what's expected.

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