Guest Blogger: Ashley Collins, Agriculture Future of America
It’s almost August. Stores are stocking school supplies and commercials advertising back to school are in full swing. For employers, an approaching fall means preparation is underway for college recruitment programs. Today, more than ever before, agricultural employers will need a strategic plan and to utilize their available resources effectively to create success. According to the AgCareers.com 2016/2017 Agribusiness HR Review, when HR professionals were asked about their workforce size predictions for the next two years, 51% (the majority) reported that their workface size would remain the same. Only 45% are predicting an increase, which is a drop of 14% from 2015 when nearly 60% of ag employers predicted their workforce would grow. However, new grads and students looking for internships, need not worry; the annual report also states that 46% of employers remain committed to new graduate recruitment (up 1% over the year before) as part of their strategy for succession planning and to compete for top talent. This also means competition for the top talent on campus is going to be as competitive if not more than it has in the past! Here are a few tips to help employers be successful in college recruitment this fall.
AgCareers.com celebrates and promotes the active hiring among our clients of military veterans and professionals. The practice of actively recruiting and hiring veterans to work in agriculture has become more popular in recent years, but recent findings show that military veterans do not always feel welcomed into the agricultural industry, leading some employers to wonder how they can make their workplace more military friendly. Here are a few suggestions to create a more military friendly work environment for veteran employees:
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.
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.
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.
There is no doubt that each region faces some difficulties when it comes to recruitment in the agriculture industry. Whether it be from local and state legislation, market limitations, cost of living and much more, the Western US faces some hurdles in recruiting for talent. We hope that AgCareers.com can be of assistance when facing these hurdles.
So you have found that perfect candidate for your role, you offer them the position and they turn it down…only to find out that they simply cannot afford to relocate and that the cost of living in the West is much higher. This has been an issue for many employers in the West. It can be very frustrating and at times, you may feel as though this is simply out of your control. But there are some ways that you may be better able to attract them. Be sure you are selling the area and let them know why they should move: good schools, safe communities, various activities, etc. In terms of cost, be sure you are offering the candidate a competitive salary that reflects the cost of living for your region. You may want to consider AgCareers.com’s Compensation Benchmark Review to assist in what a competitive salary looks like for each of the roles that are specific to your region.
A blog about hiring introverts – written by an introvert! Hi, I’m Kristine, and I’m an introvert (Myers-Briggs even told me so). I like to travel, attend agricultural trade events, and even meet people in small doses, but forced/arranged networking is a little more challenging for me (especially when done late into the evenings in loud areas when I would rather be huddled up in my hotel room decompressing). I like working in my office on projects and communicating via social media with the AgCareers.com community, but I fear for my life a little bit every time my phone rings (or I must spend time mentally preparing before I pick up the phone and call someone). I love, engage in, and feel more energized by deep discussion, but small talk makes me feel like I’m shriveling up.
Now after I’ve shared all of this, you are probably thinking there are certain career areas I may not be suited for (i.e. sales, customer service). Fair enough. But what I know (and Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln knew, and Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Spielberg, and Warren Buffett know) is that introverts come with a lot of inherent skills related directly back to their personality.
Recruitment in agriculture can be difficult. With a reported four vacancies awaiting each new graduate in this industry, recruitment brand and reputation has never been more important. The eastern Canadian provinces are facing their own set of challenges: low populations, bilingualism needs, and market limitations all affect the job market in Eastern Canada. As an employer, here’s a few option to consider as part of your recruitment strategy.
Bilingualism – Both Ontario and the Maritime Provinces have an increased number of bilingual opportunities because of their spatial relation to Quebec. If your vacancy requires a second language, go ahead and state the bilingual need right in the job title. If the candidate pool is limited, it is much easier to train other skills and experiences then it is to develop language skills.
Retention – With recruitment being such a challenge in eastern Canada, your best bet is to always retain the experienced talent that you already have. Use perks and professional development opportunities to keep your current employees motivated and engaged. Ask yourself what you love about working for your company. If you can’t easily answer that, then chances are other employees can’t either. Don’t risk losing them for a bit more flexibility or slightly more salary. Consider the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review to establish what salary range is fair for each role your company employs in each sector and province.
As the Millennials now enter their mid-20’s and 30’s, it’s time we begin to shift some focus towards the new generation that is just beginning to graduate college and enter the workforce – Generation Z, those that were born between 1995-2010. As I began to prepare this blog I suddenly realized that my wife Sharon and I have three of this generation in our household (two sons and a daughter); well, one now a freshman in college. So here’s my disclaimer – I’m preparing this based on my experiences not only with my own children but also observations of all their friends and a bit of research.
Generation Z could also be called the world’s first “Digital Natives” – meaning these human beings cannot recall a time without technology and particularly social media, of which no doubt has had a huge impact on their world view and has shaped how they accomplish key life tasks! Twitter is the avenue my 19-year-old son used to find his roommate at VTU. While many Gen Z’ers have a Facebook account and occasionally stalk others, they much prefer Twitter and even more so Snapchat. It’s taken me a while to understand Snapchat and I don’t even have an account. I find it interesting that I will catch my kids taking a Snapchat (nonchalantly) with me in the pic with them; sometimes while I’m driving. It took me a while to realize that is their way of sharing with their friends that they are with mom or dad. Z’ers are very intrigued with short communication and pics that represent their activity or events for the day…and they love emojis!
Social Media has become a necessary evil. According to our the 2015-2016 Agribusiness HR Review, 74% of companies used or planned to use social media to recruit ag talent, but how? We have a growing love-hate relationship with it and deciding whether or not it is or isn’t appropriate to use for work is a constant debate in board rooms. When it comes to recruitment, having the time, resources, and knowing the best ways to utilize social media is key. If you don’t have a website, starting with one is key to your social media presence and recruiting online. This will allow you to have a centralized location that your social media account(s) will link back, to share more about your company culture. To streamline your social media efforts here are 5 ways to use social media to recruit ag talent!
1. Either creating your own following on Facebook or utilizing the AgCareers.com Facebook page which has already established a following with agriculture job seekers is a great way to post your job openings and connect with job seekers, passive and active. Facebook also allows others to share posts to their own following, or send it to a friend. This is a great way to capitalize on Facebook followers. AgCareers.com also offers a consulting service to help your company build its social media presence.