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Helping your employees through farm expansion or change

Becky Rodriguez for Progressive Dairyman Published on 04 October 2018

Change – a terrifying six-letter word that most people hate. It’s no secret that, whether good or bad, change is difficult. Most of us, just like our cows, like routine. We like to know what to expect, and we like our comfort zones. However, as farmers know very well, change is inevitable. And many times, change is good; we just have to allow ourselves to welcome the change. When it comes to expanding your farm, you need to manage your employees mentally through the expansion as much as the physical expansion itself.

During a change or expansion, you must make sure your employees are comfortable with what is happening and know what to expect and what is expected of them. Ultimately, helping your employees through an expansion comes down to helping them with change. And with a few simple steps, you can help your employees along the journey of farm expansion while ensuring that their new duties and responsibilities will be completed correctly.




The first step is to inform your employees of the changes that will be happening. Have a meeting with all of your employees to explain the big picture of the expansion. Give them the overall view of the expansion, as well as some details. If you have an estimated time scheduled, it’s great to share that, so everyone is informed of what will be happening and when. As with any type of training or change, let your employees know the “why.” Explain why you’ve decided to expand, what it means for you, the farm and the employees. Inform your employees of any changes in their routine or schedule during or after the expansion.


People are more willing to accept change when they are involved in the change. While planning the expansion, ask your employees for their opinions. Often, people who do the day-to-day task can share ideas that you may not have thought about. They are, after all, the people doing the frontline work, and they may have great ideas for saving time and money. Involving them will not only show that you care, but also give your employees a sense of pride that they helped with the expansion. It can be simple things – but involving your employees will go a long way. Also, take time to ask your employees about their concerns regarding the expansion and answer any questions they may have.


Preparing your employees for change is vital in a successful transition. Likely, an expansion will mean more duties, more employees and possibly new systems. Explain to your employees how their roles will be changing, what new systems will be put in place and any other effects they will feel in their day-to-day life. If you will be changing your SOPs, methods or routines, start training as soon as possible. Give employees ample training time and resources to learn the new methods. This is a great time to review your existing SOPs to see if changes should be made. Consistency is key in getting employees to develop new habits. Do your best to implement changes clearly from the start so your employees can complete their duties correctly the first time around and create good habits.

Although change is scary for many, with the right involvement and preparation, you can bring your employees on board and successfully go through a farm expansion. The key is to show your employees you care by informing, involving and preparing them for the change.  end mark

Becky Rodriguez is with AgriStaff USA. Email Becky Rodriguez.