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Dairy Dialogue with PDmag: Onboarding is more than orientation and training

Published on 11 September 2017

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Consultant Bob Milligan says that new employees require a three-part onboarding process to become long-term, highly productive and engaged employees. That three-part process starts with orientation and training, and includes an essential element of engagement.

Visit the article online to learn more about Milligan’s thoughts regarding engaging new employees.

Read the full article here: Onboarding is more than orientation and training.

Good thoughts, Bob, but I have to disagree with your three concepts around engagement. According to best-selling author Patrick Lencioni, the 3 key reasons for job misery and disengagement are anonymity, irrelevance and immeasurement.

For example, I consult with dairy farmers who don’t even know the names of their employees. An easy and effective way for a dairy farmer to help employees understand their contribution and engage them is by allowing them to track their own progress.


Examples include charting SCC, calf mortality, conception rates, etc., but overall, the biggest obstacle I’m seeing is farm leadership who haven’t recognized that HR is a “support system,” with emphasis on the word system. From what I’ve learned and observed, we can’t solve labor issues by addressing only one area of HR -- the interdependent parts work together to accomplish the aim of the system, which in today’s climate is to increase retention and identify and groom successors.

To accomplish that, farmers must first identify and communicate their culture in recruiting efforts, hire for a good fit, conduct adequate onboarding to engage immediately (first 1-3 days are most critical) and finally, reinforce this with a handbook, talent development, performance coaching and discipline.

The latter is especially critical when an employee is a good fit, but has performance or attitude issues. When HR is done right, succession planning becomes a natural step in the process.
—Kristine Ranger

Thank you Kristine! I also learned a great deal from Patrick Lencioni’s book The Truth About Employee Engagement: A Fable About Addressing the Three Root Causes of Job Misery. I agree that performance expectations and especially being able to track them oneself is crucial.
—Bob Milligan

PHOTO: Photo by Thihkstock.