Q: Most of my coworkers and I really care about our jobs and the pigs we take care of, but a couple of them don’t seem to care about anything. We try to lead by example and tell them how much we care, but it doesn’t seem to matter to them. What else can we do?”

A: The fact that you sincerely care about the animals is refreshing to hear, and no doubt something that your employer very much appreciates. You are certainly doing the right thing by providing a good example and trying to explain your work ethic to your coworkers. The challenge is to find something they do care about, and then tie it back to their responsibilities at work.

In one operation that I’ve worked with a couple of the employees didn’t seem to care about their jobs, but it surfaced that these employees noticed when the pigs were “happy.” To these employees, “happy” pigs meant when people came into the building the pigs ran around the pens. Also, that the pigs came up to the gate to have contact with people, and they moved in close when people were in the pen with them. Noting that the workers liked to see the pigs behave this way, we talked about how showing interest in the pigs, setting the feeders correctly, having the rooms at a comfortable temperature and keeping waterers adjusted correctly made the pigs “happy.”

So my point is ask your coworkers what they do care about. Once you know that, try to tie some of their responsibilities at work to that. For example, do they care about more money? Getting off on time?  Working together? Avoiding breakdowns? Making work easier? You may have to be a little creative, but there always seems to be a way to tie something that a person cares about to something that will make them more effective at work. 

Also, explain that sincerely caring about animals can make the worker feel more valuable. It can enhance the person’s sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

If you have questions for Dear Boss, send them to:

Don Tyler, P.O. Box 67, Stockwell, IN47983or e-mail to don@dontyler.com.

Your letter will remain confidential, and may or may not get an individual reply.