Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To Your Staff

Christina Herrick

Christina Herrick

Recently I volunteered with the Cleveland International Film Festival. This marks my third film fest as a volunteer, but this year my experience was a little different.

We use a shift management system to log in and pick times to work, and this year volunteers could sign up for specific positions needed as well as shift times.


It’s amazing how smoothly things go when you know exactly what is expected of you. I used to show up at my shift and roles would be delegated. This time I knew when, where, and what I’d be doing.

There was no confusion, no question of who was going to handle what task — and the crew members assigned to run each film also could breathe a little easier because all of us volunteers fell into place seamlessly.

This month’s issue theme focuses on labor, specifically employees. I’m sure many of you assign specific duties and tasks to members of your orchard team. If you don’t, it’s important to think about the experience each of your employees have while accomplishing a task.

Although some seasonal employees would likely prefer to work at his or her own pace to accomplish the day’s task, many of you are incorporating pruning platforms and mechanization, where teamwork becomes essential.

Delegation is something all orchard managers do — some more successfully than others, but in today’s orchard, crews need direction and leadership. Sometimes that leadership can come from within the ranks. I’m sure you can easily identify the crew members who are strong leaders and the crew members who would prefer to be led and not lead.

Think about how your employees would feel if they were assigned to teams where each individual had a specific task to accomplish — a task that played to the employee’s specific strength.

Having specific roles — and expectations — for your workers is vital. Employees will work harder and better if they understand what is expected of them by you. Your tasks will run more smoothly and hopefully be accomplished in a more efficient manner.

You spend a lot of time considering how to space, train, prune, and nurture your trees — but do you do the same for your employees? The extra steps you take to make sure each of your workers is clear on and well-trained in their specific roles on the crew will make them a more productive team. And you may just find that it makes your life a little easier, and more profitable, this season.