Human Resources for Farmers
As farms increasingly become larger, farmers look a lot less like small business owners and a lot more like executives. To make this leap, says consultant Dick Wittman, farmers need to embrace new roles like human resources.
Wittman… “Just getting a better handle on, there's got to be structure in your organization that clearly defines people's roles and responsibilities in the way of job descriptions. About 19% of our classes over the last 20 years actually do performance evaluations. That means that 80% of the businesses are operating in an informal environment where there's no formalized feedback system. When they get done with some of the HR classes, they realize that's just insane. How can you make anybody progress if they don't know what they're doing well, and what do they need to improve on.”
Right along with job descriptions is having standard operating procedures, or SOP’s, for all recurring tasks.
Wittman… “SOP's is another prime example. I teach the class on process improvement. And when you say the word SOP, most farmers just cringe. They see that as bureaucracy. But once you demonstrate the costs and inefficiencies and problems with communication, when you can't articulate repetitive processes. With a simple click of Google, you can get examples and templates that are out there where this is not a hard thing to do.”