What can bite you in the night

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By JOHN BROS­NAN Coop­eraitken For any help please call John at Coop­eraitken Limited. Phone 07 9022 838 or email john@coop­eraitken.co.nz.

Have you ever had that ex­pe­ri­ence where you wake up in the mid­dle of the night con­cerned that some­thing isn’t quite right?

Usu­ally it isn’t any­thing or it’s just be­cause the dog barked at some­thing.

But there is that odd oc­ca­sion when you just know that some­thing is wrong, but what?

Of­ten it’s the em­ployer wo­ken be­cause they are stressed over is­sues with one of their em­ploy­ees.

What’s keep­ing them awake isn’t just that the em­ployee is do­ing wrong. It’s some­thing they them­selves have al­ready done and they have that sink­ing feel­ing that it’s go­ing to turn around and bite them. And right now, with farm life full on, is ex­actly when this type of sit­u­a­tion hap­pens.

A stressed em­ployer can feel that an em­ployee is show­ing no sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity or that they lack abil­ity which pushes the em­ployer, (who al­ready feels that they are strug­gling to fix er­rors and do their own job), to snap!

Now, in the dark of the night, that same em­ployer has wo­ken to that sink­ing feel­ing that they may have been played by an em­ployee who didn’t want to work any­way and who now has a way out that will give them cash. Yes it’s too late to avoid this. The em­ployer will just have to watch the clock tick past un­til they can ring a spe­cial­ist and see what can be done to re­trieve the sit­u­a­tion.

As a good em­ployer who is flat out on the farm, what can you do to pre­vent that thing that can bite you in the night?

Here’s a few of the basics that em­ploy­ers must keep be aware of:

Do not lose your tem­per – no mat­ter how pro­voked you feel.

Do not swear – at any­one or any­thing. Oth­ers have made the mis­take of swear­ing at inan­i­mate ob­jects think­ing that will keep them out of trou­ble from an em­ployee tak­ing of­fence and be­ing in­tim­i­dated – it didn’t and it won’t. If an em­ployee is within earshot your only safe pol­icy is: if you can’t say any­thing nice – say noth­ing!

Do not hit any­thing – es­pe­cially an­i­mals, but not even ob­jects. Sounds ob­vi­ous but oth­ers have made this mis­take and again it costs.

Never sug­gest to an em­ployee that if they aren’t happy they can al­ways leave.

Do not ac­cept a res­ig­na­tion given dur­ing or straight af­ter a dis­pute with an em­ployee.

Do not try and use the re­ces­sion and a re­struc­ture to re­move a poor per­form­ing em­ployee – per­for­mance man­age poor em­ploy­ees. Re­struc­ture for solid rea­sons based on fi­nan­cial ne­ces­sity and work flow.

Al­ways keep the com­mu­ni­ca­tion go­ing. En­sure when you first have a con­cern you talk about then and there – do not leave it to fes­ter away.

Do not as­sume that the em­ployee will have a sense of hu­mour and be able to ‘‘take a joke’’. They are of­ten just as tired as you and won’t think it’s funny.

Do not as­sume the em­ployee will care about your busi­ness like you do. They have their rea­sons to be there but they will not per­fectly align with yours which is OK so long as they are do­ing their job cor­rectly.

That’s some sim­ple tips to keep in mind.

Tack­ling prob­lems early, train­ing, set­ting clear ex­pec­ta­tions and in­spect­ing for those ex­pec­ta­tions all go a long way to mak­ing and keep­ing good em­ploy­ees.

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