I was enjoying Moe Russel's presentation to the IFAO this morning. While he and I are in different parts of the spectrum on some issues like land ownership, he make a powerful case for his analyses of farm profitability.
One point that hit home for me was how attracting, developing and retaining the best people possible could soon be more important than capital, if it is not already. [In the past two weeks, as plans for my son Aaron to return to the farm have become concrete, I awake every day to unforeseen advantages and possibilities his education, experience and energy can add to the farm (and our lives). I think Jan and I have been undervaluing this happy future both to prevent being disappointed and because we simply had not thought it through enough.]
But the trouble is the people we need and are adding aren't sensible 50-somethings. They are (shudder) young people with silly ideas that don't agree with Baby Boomer Holy Writ. We're not the only business struggling to manage these entirely-too-energetic yahoos. So maybe we should extract some lessons from what other industries are learning.
5. Don't conceal, communicate. Young people in business today crave feedback and interaction with their peers and managers, more so than previous generations did. When researchers at professional staffing firm Hudson (HHGP) conducted a survey of 2,000 employees, they found striking differences between generations in their attitudes toward their bosses and co-workers. Twenty-five percent of workers who fall into the Gen Y category consider it important to get feedback from their bosses at least once a week. However, only 11% of baby boomers desire that level of communication. Young employees also want greater social interaction with their peers and supervisors. Maintain an open, consistent dialogue and you will win their loyalty.
Young people fall into a category I call the "EmpowerME Generation" because that is exactly what they are asking from their employers—to be empowered. The 2008 election is proving that young people can be engaged when they feel as though they are making a difference. The same holds true in the workplace. [More of a very helpful article]
Agriculture has tradtionally valued people the same way as draft horses. We admired more than anything "the good worker". As the physical load plummets in farming, we'd better start recruiting for other reasons than being able to stay in the tractor saddle for 18 hours straight. Hard work is now just one criteria.
More importantly we'd better upgrade our management savvy if we want to optimize our return on good people, IMHO.