barbie job hoppingBarbie® was integral to my childhood playtime, creating my own imaginary world, picturing myself as a veterinarian, or even a rock star someday. After all, Barbie said I could be anything! I didn’t foresee my adult work life actually intersecting with one of America’s most iconic toys, especially during an out-of-the-blue conversation with my 8-year-old child about job hopping.


Mom, did you know Barbie has had 130 careers in her lifetime? AND, she’s only 58 years old!” That’s a new job every six months!” – my 8-year-old


“Barbie is a job hopper, my dear.” – my response


That’s some deep thinking by a child that already recognizes the concept of a career change in elementary school! The stats might be even higher, as the official Barbie media website indicates she’s had more than 150 careers on her resume. Born in 1959, that’s more than two new careers per year. Plus, Barbie wasn’t just changing jobs, she was going from an equestrian to an executive, a beekeeper to a bakery chef!

Published on July 19th, 2018

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the office hr managementIt’s no secret to those close to me that The Office is my favorite television show. My husband and I have probably Netflix’ed the entire series at least 10 times. I’m constantly quoting lines and relating my life experiences to something that happened on the show. Though I have learned much about HR since joining nearly five years ago, I must say that I also often see parallels between my industry colleagues’ work and the humorous and often outrageous scenarios played out on the hit NBC sitcom. Here are lessons The Office has taught me about HR and management that I think are relevant and valuable to anyone working in this field.


1. How NOT to Behave in the Office or Workplace.


This probably goes without saying, even if you haven’t seen The Office. Between spending weeks planning pranks to pull, creating playlists for your office crush, constant parties, and pointless meetings, not a lot of work is actually done on this show. Are your employees really working behind their computers? But more than that, unethical and inappropriate happenings that would make any HR professional spill their chili are the norm in Scranton, PA.


2. Show Your Staff They are Appreciated.


Aside from his unacceptable comments to and about women in the workplace (which would certainly never fly on a sitcom today) and his treatment of Toby, Michael Scott has to be commended for his treatment of his staff. He holds an award ceremony for them, he participates in great initiatives like “Take Your Kids to Work” Day, he sponsors a (albeit ridiculous) charity 5K for his employees to run in, he gives the entire staff the Friday off before Jim and Pam’s wedding, and don’t get me started about all the goodbyes he gives his staff in “Goodbye Michael.” I could go on. Take cues from the golden Michael Scott moments, after he gets all his fake firing and “that’s what she said’s” out of the way: he goes the distance for his staff.

Published on June 28th, 2018

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hr roundtableWe are gearing up for the industry’s premier North American event for HR and educational professionals which will be held August 7-9, 2018 in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Hosted by and Oklahoma State Universities College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Ag & Food HR Roundtable will provide relevant content examining recruitment and retention specifically within the ag and food industry. The opportunity for HR and educational professionals to network at the same conference is unique and rewarding!


In preparation for this year’s event we asked repeat attendees to share their thoughts on the Ag & Food HR Roundtable. Paula Beecher is the Director of the Bookhart Student Services Center for the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University and Kevin O’Conner serves as the Recruiting Coordinator for AgReliant Genetics. Both have attended the event in the past and will also be on site in Tulsa.


What was your favorite part of last year’s Roundtable?

Paula: My favorite part of the Roundtable last year was hearing from the speaker who co-wrote the book Marching off the Map (Andrew McPeak). I loved this session and have used this book and his ideas throughout the year!

Published on June 19th, 2018

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diversity in agricultureAt we recognize that as agriculture itself has diversified, so has its workforce. In response, we conducted a survey to capture employer’s efforts to address diversity within their organizations. The results of the Workplace Diversity Survey-2018 U.S. Edition shares details on the current state of workplace diversity in agriculture.


While the survey results contain a wealth of valuable information and insight, there were a few key findings that really stood out.


● Females are represented as diverse talent at 83% of organizations.


● 67% of organizations reported more than one race is represented by their employees.

Published on June 14th, 2018

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Kate Summer InternKate Boeckenstedt joins the office in Ames, Iowa this summer as our Marketing Intern. Kate just completed her junior year at Iowa State University as an Agricultural Education major with the Communications option. Last summer, Kate worked as a Crop Scout for AgVantage FS in Alburnett, Iowa.


What will you be doing this summer with


I’ll be in charge of the student success kit we’re working on as well as the Internship Benchmark Survey. Organizing some pages on our website as well as a few special marketing projects will be some other things I’m working on this summer.


What do you enjoy about working with


I like the flexibility and getting to know the indoor work environment. I like the opportunity to grow and share my ideas. The research side and blogging has been new to me. I never thought I’d be a blogger.


What advice would you give to employers using for the first time?


I think the resume database is a useful tool. Sometimes personally looking for the right candidate can serve as an advantage.

Published on May 29th, 2018

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exit interviewAn employee will leave a company for a wide number of reasons, but what are those reasons? Is there a rumor that employees leave your company for the competitor down the street for more money, when in fact they just feel underappreciated? How will you know the difference if you don’t ask, and more importantly, how will you fix what you don’t know? The answer: conduct an exit interview


The only way to ensure good talent doesn’t leave is to actively fix the issues that are causing employees to walk out the door. It is easy to blame employee turnover on speculation, such as they didn’t seem to get along well with others, or they didn’t seem to really like their position. The real issue could be the employee had little to no training and didn’t understand the essentials of their position. Once the real reasons of turnover have been determined, management and human resources should work together to ensure issues are remediated. What’s the point in learning about a problem if it isn’t fixed? Taking the time to sit with employees and discuss their employment experience can be fruitful for both the manager and employee. The list below describes just some of the reasons exit interviews are so important.


1. What does your company do well? Good data about your company walks out the door once the employee leaves. Maybe there is a manager that excels at developing employees or the flexible scheduling is what most employees love about your company. These are good tidbits you might already have wind of but, having concrete data that shows employees love them is important to have. Good data also walks out the door once the employee leaves.


2. Last chance to make a good impression. While there are occasions that an employee may leave due to no fault of the company, if an employee is disgruntled, the exit interview may be the last opportunity to hear out and smooth out any issues. A dissatisfied employee may have no issue telling their neighborhood about ABC Company’s crass managers, for example. In turn, bad publicity may deter others from applying for open positions, thus prolonging any recruiting pains.

Published on May 22nd, 2018

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recruiting a to zWe thought we’d have a little fun and explain recruiting from A to Z. Let us know what other things you associate with each of these letters when it comes to recruiting!


A. – You didn’t really think I’d start anywhere else, did you? Neither should you!


B. Benefits – Beyond the norm, what are some unique benefits you offer and can share?


C. Compensation – Make sure your comp is in line. Use our Compensation Benchmark Review™.


Published on May 9th, 2018

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business travel like a proEven if you have a wanderlust personality traveling for work can be draining. Flying in a suit, toting a laptop and cramming for an upcoming meeting isn’t near as fun as road trips with friends or the redeye to Las Vegas. However, for a lot of us work travel is part of the gig. While I can’t guarantee you a hotel room away from the elevator or on time flights, I can offer a few tips to make your next business travel experience more bearable.

Published on May 1st, 2018

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skilled trade talentAg employers tell us that technical and hourly roles are the most difficult to recruit for (2017-2018 U.S. Agribusiness HR Review). The disproportionally large segment of baby boomers employed in skilled trade roles and their impending retirement, adds to the expected workforce shortage in the coming years ( What may be a struggle for employers is good news for candidates that don’t have a bachelor’s or advanced degree. This dilemma for employers can also be a catalyst for youth career planning.


For years parents and counselors have encouraged youth to get a university degree, but this may be changing as we recognize the worker shortage and career potential in skilled trades. Apprenticeships, certification training and two-year degrees provide a low-cost education alternative that teaches career ready skills.




Many employers appear to have flexibility in hiring the best fitting candidate without adhering to a strict education requirement. Nearly 30% of all jobs posted on in 2017 did not list a specific minimum education level.

Published on April 26th, 2018

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In today’s world, the power of diversity is no secret. Small businesses may wonder what’s in it for them and how they can use diversity to propel their business. Companies that excel in diversity and inclusion are more likely overall to succeed as a company. In addition, companies that have a greater ability to attract and utilize a diverse employee base are able to bring different ideas to the table, approach a problem from a different standpoint, and connect with a wider customer base. Also, business that leverage their employees’ diverse backgrounds can in turn garner greater respect from employees and customers as well.

Published on April 19th, 2018

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