Guest Blogger: Becky Wilcox
One of the best things a manager can do is to surround himself or herself with people who make the business better. The employees you hire can make you or break you.
Nobody is good at everything, so in the case of a manager, a good criterion to consider in hiring people is to bring in personnel who compensate for your shortcomings. They can complement your best features in a way that makes both of you more effective.
Technology is often one of the areas where senior staff find themselves lacking. After 15 or 20 years in management, it can be easy to find yourself behind the times on information technology. Yet the business goes right on demanding it, providing profit and growth when the right tech tools are implemented.
AFA asks questions. We genuinely value curiosity and learning. Our current question is this:
Let me explain. Almost a year ago AFA launched the Leader Fellowship™ experience which partners a young person and a coach. Part of the relationship is geared toward direct mentoring and part of the relationship is geared toward direct coaching. These are very different skills, and as we have developed, we have had to think through models that serve both needs.
Mentoring tends to be directionally-based: “Do this.” It is position-led and can look a lot like good supervision. It is performance oriented, and the mentor tends to be viewed as a role model. It sounds like “Try these things to solve your problem.”
Guest Blog Post by Bill Stumph, Chief Financial Officer for Ag Alumni Seed and a 2016 graduate of the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management from Purdue University
Successful employees are searching for improvement. They are putting in extra effort and time to make a difference for the company and for themselves. Those employees can make an even better impact on your company if they are given great tools to work with.
Providing the employees hungry for growth with the tools they need to be more effective means that they make your business more effective. I should know. I recently completed a program offered by Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business called the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management. The program is a collaboration between Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The rigor of a master’s in agricultural economics is paired with the diversity of study in the MBA.
Enrolling in the program was one of the best decisions I have made, personally and professionally.
Sometimes you want to be the company everyone is talking about, sometimes you don’t, but if you are hoping to build your workforce with the best and brightest – you do! Especially when the venue is college campuses during recruiting season and the chatter is positive! Working a career fair booth and seeing a line of students who want to talk to your company representatives can be a warm and fuzzy moment for anyone who works in recruiting, however, that line doesn’t form overnight. Building a strong campus brand takes time, creativity, some financial investment, and more time. Then there is maintenance, but that is an entirely different post! Here are 5 ideas to help your company begin the process of building an on-campus brand.
Guest Blogger: Jen McKenzie, Business Freelancer
Bringing in strong employees is only the first step to making your business thrive. You also have to keep those employees happy within your company. Great employees leave all the time, and it’s not always due to pay or benefits. Interested in learning more about employee retention? Read these five tips to avoid employee turnover.
Why Worry About Employee Turnover?
According to Glass Door, employers report that it can take up to 52 days to fill an open position. That’s almost 2 months where other employees are having to pick up the slack for the missing worker. It’s time that your business isn’t operating at peak efficiency, and you’re likely spending time advertising and interviewing candidates.
Increase Employee Retention
There are certain things you can do to increase employee retention and almost none of them have to do with providing more money for employees. The most common strategies provide a competitive benefits package like a savings plan for retirement or a great health insurance plan. High employee turnover is a hit to the morale for the entire company, and it should be avoided at all costs.
Guest Blogger: Megan Karlin, Agriculture Future of America Marketing & Communications Manager
When it comes to whether or not your company should invest in Agriculture Future of America, I definitely have a biased opinion. However, when it comes to making the most of your relationship with us, I have the inside scoop.
For very nearly five years, I’ve immersed myself in listening to and telling AFA’s story. I’ve interviewed partners, participants and anyone else who would give me a few minutes. I’ve seen what works and what does not.
As I said, I’m biased when it comes to the question of financial investment; so, for the remainder of my time with you, let’s assume you do. That’s the first thing I would tell you. When you partner with AFA, you have a stake in the game. You’re committed to pursuing the opportunities I’ve outlined below. The first, of which, is to connect with our students.
Grit – of the business buzzwords, it ranks supreme. It exemplifies qualities that make the difference when it comes to getting the job done, no matter what.
How do we find employees that have grit, that will push through difficult times and not lose focus or passion for the tasks that lay ahead? The go-to answer has been to ask behavioral questions regarding grit. The better solution is to recruit candidates where the experiences on their CV can be taken at face value to be synonymous with the coveted quality. Key among these: international development work.
Despite decades of progress towards worker rights and protections, discrimination continues to be an issue in many workplaces across the country. To deal with discrimination in the workplace, we first need to understand what it means, who it affects, and what can be done about it.
Typically, in the United States, discrimination in the workplace refers to actions and decisions that negatively affect individuals or groups of people for reasons such as race, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability (physical or mental, including HIV status), age (for workers over 40), military service or affiliation, bankruptcy or bad debts, genetic information, and citizenship status (for citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, and asylees).
For most people, work is an inescapable reality. People work because they have to, not necessarily because they want to. Yes, there are “dream jobs”, but most people don’t work there. Yes, there are “high paying” jobs, but a lot people don’t work there either. For everyone else who gets up early and pushes through a tough day at work for average pay, a little recognition from their boss from time-to-time can go long way.
There are so many easy ways to positively recognize employees. Many employers use formal recognition programs for employees, including recognition for years of service, bonuses for exceptional performance, employee of the month honors, etc. But there are also plenty of simple informal employee recognition methods that are actually easier to apply and maintain – starting with your attitude.
Being a black cloud at work rains on everyone’s day. Saying good morning, or simply smiling as you enter your workplace gives your employees a sense of well-being, and reinforces that they are in a safe and friendly environment. Come in with a scowl on your face and make no effort to say hello, well, you can guess how your employees feel about that.
Speak in front of a crowd? No problem. Clearly articulate an issue? You got it. Work efficiently as a team? Consider it done.
No matter the task at hand, FFA members have been equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in the workforce. Through hands-on classroom experiences and leadership development conferences, FFA members are provided with opportunities to explore careers in the agriculture industry and interact with other FFA members from across the nation. It doesn’t take long after interacting with FFA members to realize that they are poised and professional. They conduct themselves with respect and confidence, often making them stand out amongst their peers.