New Year’s Resolution: Resolutions For Improved Performance

*Please Note: This New Year’s resolution column is the first in a series of five columns offering cattle producers, equine facility owners, veterinarians and agribusiness leaders information about employee and business management practices. The columns, authored by members of the Zoetis PeopleFirst™ team, will be distributed every Tuesday at the beginning of 2014.

New Year’s Resolutions for Improved Performance

Plan a successful, comprehensive strategic approach for your business, operation and people 

By: Nicolas Buttars, PeopleFirst™ business solutions manager, Zoetis

One of the only ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions is to write them down. The same goes for your business goals.

Owners and managers should evaluate their business or operation as the new year kicks off before setting a plan of how to move forward. If you don’t know where your business has been or where it is going, you won’t know how to advance. To help design specific, measurable goals for the future, start by talking as a team with employees about your aspirations and visions. Then, find common goals and alignment. This team dialogue will help prioritize key objectives for success. Each team member can play a role to make these goals happen.

To help get you started, consider including these New Year’s resolutions to enjoy a more successful business:

  1. Resolve to better motivate employees.

    The No. 1 driver of what keeps employees engaged at work is their relationship with their immediate supervisor.1 Highly engaged and efficient employees treat the business like it’s their own. In fact, employees who are engaged in the workplace are 87% less likely to leave the company.2

    To create a highly motivated team, it’s essential that managers and supervisors learn how to be effective leaders and understand how to build relationships with team members. Just as new employees need training, managers need training to identify and develop their leadership and managerial skills.
  2. Strive to properly train employees.

    Owners and managers depend on employees to help keep the operation running smoothly. New employees need proper training and education for a smooth transition into the workplace — also known as onboarding. Veteran employees also need refreshers on animal handling and other operating procedures.

    Finding time in a busy workday to properly train employees is difficult but essential to improve business performance and reduce operational risk. Training programs that increase employee engagement can boost performance by 20%.2 In addition, companies with high employee engagement have a higher operating income and margin, higher productivity, higher return on equity and higher return on assets.3-5 For business owners, there is a clear financial incentive to ensure proper training this new year.
  3. Define a direction for your business.

    This year, take steps to become more profitable and more productive. Ask yourself, “Where do I want my business to be?”
  4. Organizations that use strategic planning are more profitable and last longer.6,7 A strategic business plan serves as a necessary and cost-effective way to improve stability during volatile times, which can be frequent in the agricultural industry. It also helps ensure consistency throughout the operation and outlines important business objectives. Planning can unify a team and helps you reach your goals sooner.

Changing old habits and developing new ones won’t happen overnight. But by establishing business and employee management goals now, you can set yourself up for increased productivity and profitability throughout the year. Visit for more ways to improve your business or operation in the new year.

About the author

Nicolas Buttars is a business solutions manager for PeopleFirst at Zoetis. He works with producers and veterinarians to meet their human resources training, development and leadership needs.

PeopleFirst is the industry’s first comprehensive human capital solutions program. These services were created in direct response to challenges customers expressed with managing today’s complex operations. For more help on employee and business management solutions, talk with a certified consultant, such as those available through PeopleFirst. Visit to learn more.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health.

Download a high-resolution photo of Nicolas Buttars, PeopleFirst business solutions manager, Zoetis.

For more information, contact:

Jessica Wolf 

Lindsey Langemeier
Bader Rutter

1 Sysco Foods. Engagement Study, 2008.
2 Corporate Leadership Council. Driving performance and retention through employee engagement. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.
3 Towers Perrin. 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.
4 Watson Wyatt. 2008-2009 WorkUSA Survey Report, Driving Business Results Through Continuous Engagement.
5 O.C. Tanner. Performance: Accelerated. Available at:
Accessed December 1, 2013.
6 M3 Planning. 2006 Strategic Business Performance Study. Available at:
Accessed December 1, 2013.
7 Terri Zwierzynski. Top 10 Business Plan Myths of Solo Entrepreneurs. Available at:
Accessed December 1, 2013




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