“Taking on an extra member of staff has transformed my working and personal life. I was sceptical at first and concerned about the extra cost of another unit of labour, but it is the best decision I have ever taken in my business. Everyone can now take their holiday and have time off – including me!”
Harry Pinsent, Farm Owner
Higher Ludbrook Farm
Higher Ludbrook Farm is based in Ludbrook, a small village in the South Hams district of South Devon. Run by Harry Pinsent, this is a third-generation family business with a passion for cows and their land. With a 300-cow Spring block calved, cross bred herd, milked twice a day in a new 24/ 48 milking parlour, they have invested heavily in a new cow cubicle shed, calf shed and handling facilities.
Harry was working long hours as part of the dairy team. His father was looking to ease himself out of the day-to-day running of the farm and needed Harry to take on more responsibility for the overall business. Harry was struggling to ease the pressure on his father but couldn’t spend time with his own family either. There were also personality clashes within the team with one member of staff being troublesome and unreliable.
We met Harry and his team in August 2019. With just a Herdsperson, and Assistant Herdsperson in the team, Harry was fully involved in milking his cows and calving periods were extremely stressful. The team needed to function more effectively and reduce the reliance on Harry’s time, skill, and experience.
Harry had also been advised to keep his labour costs low through comparisons with other farms in his discussion groups. However, the toll it was taking on him and his relationships was not being considered.
- We started by establishing the Team Dynamics by understanding the personality styles of the existing team using the VITA profiling system. It was clear that the Herdsperson had a very different style to the rest of the team. This was causing daily clashes and conflict within the team.
- We instigated a series of Annual personal reviews to identify improvements that needed to be made by the team. Soon after the expected standards were identified, the Herdsperson decided to leave the farm.
- Real Success advised that rather than keeping labour costs just below what the farm potentially needed, to invest in staff so that there was spare capacity. This would allow more time off for everyone, reduced working hours and improved morale. Harry was also informed that a different mix of personality styles and experience were required. A re-shaping of the team began.
- It was agreed that a third member of the team should be employed. A Herd Manager would be recruited to take the pressure off Harry for running the daily operations of the farm.
- Over a period of months, a Herd Manager, Herdsperson and Assistant Herdsperson were all recruited through Real Success recruitment services. All candidates were profiled to ensure they could work together.
- Harry is no longer part of the milking team. He’s been able to take time off, have a holiday and the cows are producing more milk than ever.
- The Herd Manager runs the farm daily, supported by the Herdsperson and Assistant Herdsperson.
- Harry can plan and organise his working life alongside his personal life.
- The team are happy, stable, and working effectively producing more milk and growing more grass.
- The farm is profitable and has a long-term, sustainable future.