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Happy Staff = Good Productivity

by 5m Editor
1 July 2008, at 7:57am

UK - You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - in other words, you can have the best pig unit on the planet, but unless you've got the right staff to run it it's worthless.

Adam Whitrow, who managers a 600 indoor sow unit near Cullompton, Devon regards good staff as key to the success of his business. With 1,800 - 1,900 weaners, sows averaging 2.5 litters per year and an average of 11.15 piglets per litter there is plenty to do. According to Adam: "New staff require a lot of training and support to get them up to scratch and there is nothing more frustrating than losing a member of staff who you have invested a lot of time and energy in.


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"Good staff development is helping us improve morale on the unit and more importantly retain staff. It's a way to motivate people, especially if there is some recognition in terms of a qualification at the end and possibly a financial reward."
Adam Whitrow (who managers a 600 indoor sow unit near Cullompton, Devon)

"Good staff development is helping us improve morale on the unit and more importantly retain staff. It's a way to motivate people, especially if there is some recognition in terms of a qualification at the end and possibly a financial reward.

"It is good there are more events available for stockmen such as the BPEX Knowledge Transfer workshops Helen Thoday has set up in Cornwall and Devon, attendance of which can contribute towards a qualification." "Equally, workshops aimed at managers/owners are important in helping us manage our staff effectively. It has taught me the importance of setting good standards of practice, setting realistic targets, creating action plans, coaching and encouragement and holding one to one meetings with staff to monitor their performance."

Adam has three members of staff and between them they split responsibility for different parts of the production set-up. Adam and one staff member work in the farrowing houses, another one concentrates on the weaners and another on the AI side. This gives the individual members of staff ownership of their particular area, which Adam is sure helps motivate them as they want to make sure they have done the job properly.

All members of staff know how to work each other's areas so during holidays or if anyone is off sick they can cover for each other. There is a relaxed atmosphere on Adam's unit, yet everything is carried out to exacting standards.

In the future Adam would like to see more emphasis put on staff training and more incentives provided to keep staff motivated and happy. "Being a stockman is not one of the most exciting jobs in the world, neither is it particularly well paid, however, there are things managers/owners can do to get the best out of their staff and make work more enjoyable," Adam added.

5m Editor