Consider your hectic schedule of holiday parties, gatherings, school events, and preparations for the season. Pile that on top of your already busy work calendar, and the holidays can quickly become overwhelming.
How do you remain productive over the holidays?
It might be enticing for you to take a bit of a “hiring holiday” at work. Besides recruitment, your HR department is likely knee-deep in planning annual reviews and salary increases for January. Do you really need to continue recruiting during December? YES! Your competitors are actively recruiting, and candidates are still searching.
How do you predict if an employee will succeed or fail in their role? If you hire the candidate with the most experience and highest GPA, they should become a star player in your organization, right?
For years people assumed that Intelligence Quotient, IQ, was the source of a person’s success. However, studies indicated that people with the highest IQs outperform those with average IQs just 20% of the time, while people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves provides an in-depth look at this topic.
We are welcoming a new generation into the workplace, Generation Z. Born after 1998, they are also sometimes referred to as Centennials or iGeneration. Gen Z’ers are your new high school graduates and upcoming college students that will be looking for internships and finding their first job in the next few years.
What can we expect to experience with this new generation of employees?
This is the first completely digitized generation that has always been connected to the internet and as expected, they are proficient in technology. Youth making up Generation Z are diverse and are predicted to be independent thinkers and doers.
Goldman Sachs provides a good look at this new employee pool in their video- “Gen Z Matters More than Millennials.” Generation Z tends to be more financially conservative, associate money with success and is very aware of the financial consequences of their decisions.
According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 by the World Economic Forum, there remains a wide gap between women and men in economic participation and opportunity. When we look at the overall Global Gender Gap Index, Canada was ranked #35, while the United States was only #45. The U.S. ranking dropped due to the decrease in economic participation and opportunity score, with a sizeable gap in estimated earned income.
The Global Gender Gap Report notes the positive effect of increasing gender parity on economic growth – “Making full use of women’s capabilities paves the way to optimizing a nation’s human capital potential.” (p. 27)
In the AgCareers.com Gender Roles and Equality in Agribusiness Survey, women were asked if they felt they would be given more advancement opportunities if they were male. The majority, 72% felt they would be. So, are women content where they are at or do they want to pursue advancement?
The flexibility an organization and position provides is often directly related to a positive workplace atmosphere and employee satisfaction. My professional career has included work for several different organizations, while I also had experiences with internships and high school/college jobs. I’ve experienced stark contrasts, from a strictly scheduled business to a very flexible workplace.
At one job the door locked at 8 am, so you’d better get there early, and a buzzer signaled the beginning and end of each break time (no this wasn’t a factory, it was an office). One where you were required to use all your PTO for maternity leave, with no way to accrue more until the next year. Or another where you had to use vacation time when there was a death in the family as they hadn’t developed a bereavement policy.
On the other end of the spectrum, one employer encouraging you to volunteer with community organizations during work time. Another where you could come in ahead of the start time in order to leave early to attend a personal event. One offering the flexibility to work in a professional capacity part-time to balance the needs of a young, growing family. Without hesitation, I can tell you I’ve been the happiest when and where I had the most flexible workplace. You may wonder if this is just a personal story, but there is research to back up the power of workplace flexibility.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I have a unique job where I get to do a lot of different things daily. Primarily, I do graphic design for AgCareers.com, so this includes handouts and flyers, brochures, mailers, e-blasts, reports, infographics, social media graphics, basically anything the team needs that involves anything graphical. I also handle a share of social media tasks like creating content and posting the jobs that you see on our social media. And I get to do some video production and a variety of writing on the blogs, the newsletter, through the Career Guide, and creating surveys.
What do you enjoy about working here?
I love my job. I appreciate that my job is not just one sector of agriculture, but is all-encompassing of the industry. I feel so fortunate to come to work every day and get to do what I love for the industry that I love. I also love creating. And I feel genuine doing so. I grew up on a farm, and my husband and I farm, so coming from this industry and getting to support it through my daily work is and has always been my dream. All my passions fit into one job, which I think is pretty rare to find in a career.
The agricultural industry continues to grow through diverse opportunities. There are more job opportunities in agriculture than there are graduates to fill them. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with two-year degrees, technical diplomas, and certifications to fill these roles. “Two-year/technical graduates are very valuable to our organization,” shared Tara Tench, Assistant HR Manager, Southern States Cooperative, Inc. “The talent we are looking for are not always found in four-year graduates; many two-year schools offer the types of agricultural degrees that we are looking for along with the skill sets needed for many of our positions.”
Welders, electricians, mechanics, and truck drivers are a few typical roles that we often think as skilled trade opportunities. However, candidates with associates’ degrees or technical certifications from two-year schools are often a good fit for roles such as research assistant, sales, technician, executive assistant, operations and customer service to name just a few. In addition to drivers and mechanics, Southern States Cooperative has also filled positions in their retail stores with community college graduates, in roles that sell crop products, precision ag services, and products for livestock, like feed and animal health supplies.
Hopefully, your interns are getting into the swing of things, learning and exploring the industry. But how are they doing? We’ve all hear that this generation desires constant feedback. Interns continue to tell us they want to hear from employers regularly, sharing positive feedback and constructive criticism. “Let me know how I’m doing!”
We know from our internship research that almost 75% of agricultural companies formally review their interns. Likewise, interns say one of the ways to improve an internship program is by giving performance reviews!
Unemployed candidates are sometimes stereotyped as less desirable than those currently working- but is this always the case? Certainly not! Is your screening process eliminating applicants that are unemployed? If so, you could be missing a candidate that might be qualified or could be a great fit for your organization.
First, you need to look at why they are unemployed. Did they take time off to raise a family or relocate with a spouse? Were they part of a corporate restructuring or a major lay-off? Sometimes even the best employees are caught in situations that are beyond their control.
Are there advantages in hiring an unemployed worker?
No need to give a two-week notice–one of the major benefits is their ability to start immediately.
AgCareers.com surveyed candidates in the Candidate Motivation & Behavior in the Ag Industry survey, including questions for unemployed respondents about their job search behaviors.
Your interns will be starting soon and you’re likely making final preparations for them. So what should you avoid? AgCareers.com has worked with and surveyed students interning in the agricultural industry for years. We’ve developed a list of what interns hate and can quickly create a negative experience for both the intern and your organization.
1. Isolation: Students don’t want to be stuck in one office or location for the entire summer. Let them travel and see everything your company has to offer. Interns frequently tell us that visits to other locations or facilities are one of their favorite experiences. “Make sure interns see every side of the company instead of just the area that they are working in,” shared one intern. They also dislike isolation from coworkers and other interns. “More interaction with peers as well as team members,” noted an intern when asked for improvements. Create opportunities for interns to network with upper management and fellow interns. If your company doesn’t have many interns, make an effort to introduce them to interns at other organizations in your area.