Tuesday, 03 March 2020 12:03

Be a good boss and we're unstoppable

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Federated Farmers Dairy chair Chris Lewis and farm worker Cheyanne Wilson at the launch. Federated Farmers Dairy chair Chris Lewis and farm worker Cheyanne Wilson at the launch.

A dairy sector made up of good bosses would make us unstoppable, says Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Chris Lewis.

Good bosses would attract workers to dairy farms. “Therefore, the recruitment process would be more competitive and the calibre of those you employed would increase,” he says.

“Your staff would solve more problems, find more opportunities therefore you and your farm business would be more successful.”

Speaking at the launch of the Good Boss campaign in Wellington last month, he urged all farmers to be great bosses.

He admitted that in the dairy sector, everyone isn’t a good boss.

Some people are letting the side down.

“Because when someone has an experience of a bad boss in dairy they talk about it to their mates. And their mates then think twice about working in dairy.

“And then they all tell their families it isn’t a good idea to work in dairy. And so it goes on.”

Lewis noted that the opposite is also true. 

People with good bosses talk about them: their families and mates think that sounds pretty good and are likely to give dairying a try.

“If they then experience a good boss then that positive story is reinforced and more people are keen to promote dairy, work in dairy.”

Lewis says the Good Boss campaign is about farmers leading farmers: employee farmers telling employer farmers what they want in a boss.

“It is about employer farmers remembering what made their best boss a good boss. And it is about us listening to all farmers about why and how that good boss is a good boss and sharing it with other farmers until we are all good bosses.”

Lewis acknowledged that the sector is facing staff shortages.

“We are short staffed. Many of you live and feel the impacts of this every day. Without our 4000 odd (highly valued) migrant workers on temporary work visas we would be stuffed, cows would not be being milked.

“There are of course a number of reasons we can’t find enough capable employees – socio ecomomic policy, urban migration, generational expectations etc. Some of these things are outside our control. But the thing that is inside our control that would make a difference? Being a good boss.”

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