People and the communities they belong to are a crucial aspect of regenerative agriculture. At The New Zealand Merino Company we recognise that regenerative agriculture goes beyond just animal and pastural outcomes. Regenerative agriculture also has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of rural communities by looking at the farm structure holistically.
That is why 5 of the 15 ZQRX key performance indicators focus on people. These KPI's seek to address the health and wellness of those involved in the business based on the World Health Organisation's health work place model.
Staff and Contractors
This KPI addresses the compensation and benefits provided by farm owners or managers to their staff. Farm owners who show interest and desire to support staff through benefits, training, and long-term goal planning demonstrate their commitment to this KPI.
Farm owners can compensate their staff through paying above the living wage. Other benefits they can provide include staff accommodation, power, Wi-Fi and phone and vet bills along with firewood, saddle allowance and full access hunting. Fostering staff's interests and providing support for young shepherds encourages staff to remain and/or return in more senior positions such as head shepherds/stock managers.
Health and Wellness
All ZQ certified properties already have a health and safety plan. For ZQRX, farms need to demonstrate having a comprehensive plan in place and for all people engaged with the system. Additionally, growers should aim to have an advanced awareness of the major risks on farm and plan to mitigate these. ZQRX recognises that it is not just employee physical health that is important. It rewards those farms with wellness initiatives to support staff especially through busy times and with the isolations of rural living.
ZQRX growers who place importance on staff mental health through greater awareness, tailored workshops and regular toolbox meetings will rate highly in this KPI.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion focuses on a grower's ability to identify strengths, weakness, and unique talents within their team. This encourages ZQRX growers to alter their own management style to best assist different team members, and in some cases, to be investing in personal development plans. To be championing this KPI, growers will be actively advocating for on farm diversity and inclusion on a community wide and greater scale.
Examples of this include ZQRX growers encouraging their team to build on their strengths, embracing staff’s individualism and tailoring management style to suit different staff members. Growers can also look to connect with and employ local Iwi.
Learning and Development
This KPI is directed only at the top tier of management as it covers the learning and knowledge development they are undertaking outside of the business to bring back to the on-farm team. ZQRX actively supports growers with networks for technical advice and long-term planning to assist them with leadership in this area.
ZQRX growers are passionate about up-skilling and development. They attend training days, discussion groups, courses and reach out to individual experts for specialised advice. ZQRX growers that excel in this area will foster the development of their team and provide leadership in their wider community.
Farms play a central role in the health and livelihood of a local community. They are often involved with many community organisations and on several local committees and boards. This KPI aims to recognise strong involvement in the community and reward those that go over and above including rural advocacy work and actively bridging the rural urban divide. Involvement in the community also has a positive impact on personal wellbeing through a sense of belonging. Strong community involvement will significantly impact employee wellbeing.
Growers can be involved in their local community through school boards, community boards, and charities. They can also welcome their community on to farm through workshops, education sessions and hunting.
The 5 KPI's of Staff and Contractors, Health and Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion, Learning and Development, and Community aim to acknowledge and encourage the work ZQRX growers are doing to benefit the people involved in their business. Without the people, ZQRX would not be possible; it is vital to foster their development and health. Through ZQRX we can collectively strive for a better future for our people, our environment, and our animals.