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For the 2018 North Canterbury Business Awards judges, the standout feature of Mauri ANZ Stockfeed Agribusiness Award winner Medbury Farm was its dedication to its staff.
“This large-scale farming operation has its employees at the heart of its business,” the judging panel noted, adding that “providing staff with a positive attitude, the ability to learn, passion and respect,” was one of the business’s keys to success.
Medbury Farm Manager Dave Hislop concurs, “We work very hard to promote sustainable work practices resulting in long term staffing.
“Our purpose is to provide an enjoyable working environment for staff, minimise turnover by providing opportunities and financial support for staff to undertake personal development, while supporting employees to progress if the farm is unable to provide opportunities related to their ability.”
To date, this policy has set Dave and his wife Brenda in very good stead. Having been operating the Hawarden farm for 16 years, the pair now have six full time staff, two of whom have been with them for almost 10 years. All staff live on-farm with their families.
“We have a family focus with all staff having their own housing and rosters that consider the personal situation of all staff,” says Dave. “Medbury Farm has a very positive team culture with many regular social events for staff and their families throughout the year, as well as a touch rugby team in the local community competition.”
With such a lot of time and effort going into their staff, it’s no surprise that Dave and Brenda attribute their win at the North Canterbury Business Awards to their team.
“Our staff are the practitioners of our farm policy. Winning this award gives them recognition for their efforts,” says Dave.
Although Dave admits that entering awards is ‘not in his DNA’, the Hislops opted to enter the Business Awards after their local mayor nominated them.
“Our mayor nominated us for the North Canterbury Business Awards after we won the Supreme Canterbury Regional Winner title at the 2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. He’s such a good guy, how could we say no?”
Despite his hesitation to enter, Dave says he would encourage other businesses to have a go at the North Canterbury Business Awards as it does generate positive news stories and promotion of farming businesses in the North Canterbury region.
Although the awards are rolling in for the pair and the way they are managing their business, Dave says the future will see the couple continually improving and tweaking what they do, with a strong focus kept on their award-winning approach to staff support and retention.
“Brenda and I have spent many years and long hours building the business and we know that staff turnover can cost time and money. Having engaged, passionate staff is good for both their career development but also their desire to come to work. Creating a passion is vital.”