Farm Futures logo

Hey folks, it’s time to cut the chit-chat

How to get your employees to stop wasting time and get to work.

Darren Frye, CEO

February 11, 2022

2 Min Read
clock green background
Getty/iStockphoto/Peter Dazeley

During the off-season, it seems like our employees spend about half an hour every morning wasting time chatting and joking. I’ve tried to talk with them about it, but nothing has changed. Any tips? – L.B., Iowa

Many small business owners wish their employees would operate with the same “ownership mindset” that they do themselves. Thinking about the farm’s culture, an important element is how things get done – the standard operating procedures or routines and rhythms.

It may well be that the current rhythm and routine in your operation is to spend the first half-hour of the day chatting, connecting, and drinking coffee. There are a few things to consider if you want to change that.

First, you could have a candid conversation with your employees about what you expect. This isn’t about being angry or accusing them, but more of a roundtable discussion. Maybe they need more specific expectations and clarity of direction. You might let them know that they can come chat with each other over coffee at the beginning of the day, but it just can’t be while they’re on the clock.

Or you may find that you change your expectations about that time – maybe you’re willing to consider a team-oriented approach. I know a farm operation where the owner cooks breakfast every morning for the employees while they talk about what’s going on that day and create a game plan. It’s a social experience by design – while fostering better team communication.

Maybe you can shift your morning schedule so you can be around to talk about the game plan for the day, answer employee questions, and make sure they have what they need to get going right away.

Overall, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you want your farm to operate?

  • What’s in place right now that supports the current actions you’re seeing?

  • What communication will help employees understand what you want to change?

  • Finally, how can you support them in making those adjustments?

Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like