Set Employees Up for Success

Consultant Burke Teichert gives tips on finding, training and maintaining good employees.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 4, 2014) — “A manager’s job is to create an environment in which people want to excel and then provide the tools, training and freedom to do it,” Burke Teichert, retired vice president of AgReserves and management consultant. He gave tips on finding, training and maintaining good employees to attendees of the business workshop Tuesday, Nov. 4, during the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show in Kansas City, Mo.

Burke Teichert

Burke Teichert

The four key areas to manage in a ranch operation are production, economics and finance, marketing, and people, he said. All too often, the people aspect is forgotten.

Finding good help is getting to be a difficult issue. Teichert suggested using advertisements in local papers or livestock journals, but warned that they aren’t as widely read as before. Ranch web pages are good ways to advertise for help, especially if the website shows that it is a good place to work. A local network — like FFA chapters, other ranchers, and colleges and universities — can source help.

Current employees are often the best source of new employees who will succeed at your ranch, he added.

Orientation and training have two major components: (1) the local community and (2) the workplace and job. The first is often skipped, but make sure new employees can be comfortable in their new community, Teichert advised. Show them or tell them about healthcare, shopping, schools, churches, banking and recreation. Make sure the whole family can be comfortable with where they live.

Training for the job is one of the most important things a manager does. Teichert warned against assuming an employee knows what to do or how to do it. That is unfair to the employee because it sets them up to fail.

Teichert recommended asking an employee how they would do something to find out if they do know and also to gain new ideas. The show, tell, do method works well to ease employees into new tasks.

He advised using on-ranch mentors, reasoning that doing so boosts the self-esteem of the mentors and gives the new employee the insight of a successful ranch employee. He also suggested providing off-ranch learning opportunities.

Training is important, because most new employees either quit or decide to stay within the first two to three weeks on the job. The problem is that most who decide to quit stay on the payroll until they find another job, but their productivity lessens. He explained that some reasons for quitting include:

Successful employees are excited to do well and have buy-in with the ranch, Teichert said. “None of us can empower another, but we can encourage, facilitate and reward — and, thus, lead the empowerment of another.”

Employees want opportunities to grow and improve, Teichert concluded. They want to be part of a learning, improving, winning and successful team with respectful, helpful and talented co-workers. They want to know that individual work is valued and that their ideas will be treated with respect and considered in planning efforts. Most importantly, he noted, objectives should be congruent with family lifestyle and personal objectives.

Teichert spoke during the Business Workshop Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4. For more information about the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show, visit


Editor's Note: This article was written by staff or for the Angus Journal®. It is available for reprint upon request to editor Shauna Hermel. Photos are available upon request.

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers. For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit