AgCareers.com recently gathered a group of agribusiness HR leaders in Indianapolis, Indiana to discuss current challenges in talent acquisition. A nice mix of companies were represented, and the organizations varied in size, which contributed to well-rounded conversation (JBS United, Equipment Technologies, Tom Farms, Dow AgroSciences, Total Seed Production, Inc., Elanco, and Beck’s Hybrids). Despite the difference in size of company and the nature of their businesses, the group seemed to echo similar challenges.
Talent Attraction emerged as a key discussion theme, as we began exploring challenges as a group. The group indicated four areas of importance to focus on when examining talent attraction strategies.
Using video in recruitment is quickly becoming a core component of talent acquisition. To gain a competitive advantage, many companies are adapting their traditional recruitment strategies and processes to incorporate the use of video in candidate sourcing, selection, and beyond.
Employer Brand – Videos help employers stand out by bringing more recognition and innovation to their brand. On company career sites, videos can be used to showcase information about the company and the careers offered, such as “a day in the life” videos for certain key roles. Videos reveal a genuine look at an organization’s culture and what it’s like to work there, connecting the recruiter to the right candidates more effectively.
Talent acquisition is generally one of the first areas of an organization that a perspective employee will meet, and an area that will have an ever-lasting impact on the organization. After all, a company is only as good as its employees, right? Assessing the talent acquisition function is a process that may take time, but the outcome is sure to provide a clear picture of the state of affairs and determine the likelihood that the function and organization will succeed.
A highly effective talent acquisition function starts with a well-planned talent acquisition strategy that is aligned with the overall strategic mission and vision of the organization. In addition, a sound talent acquisition strategy will thoughtfully lay out how the function will help the company achieve its overall mission. While for some companies the exercise of creating a talent acquisition strategy can seem arduous, especially during the day-to-day operations of most HR functions, it is sure to pay off in the end.
Did you hire a jerk? Or at least someone who is not who they seemed to be? If you are feeling regrets about a recent hire, it’s easy to place blame on the new hire, believing that they changed, or have a bad attitude. Ultimately though, there are often steps that could have been implemented in the hiring process that could have predicted behavior, or prevented a potentially misaligned hire.
While in the screening process there are a few things that could be done to ensure a better fit with the hires role and the company dynamics. Consider using Predictive Index testing to determine your potential future hire’s strengths prior to committing to them. Work with a consultant to communicate what exact attributes you’re looking for to ensure a good match. Even Strengths Finder would be an affordable option to identify areas that are lacking or over developed for the role.
Job hopping traditionally was considered moving from one company to the next every one to two years, multiple times. The reasons for these moves was due to something other than a layoff or company closure. However, times have changed and it is unusual for individuals to stay in a position or at a company for over 6 years. Studies show that the average number of years a worker stays with an employer is 4.6 years, for younger employees (20 – 34) it is half that, at 2.3 years.
So, what does that mean for employers? Many employers and recruiters have changed their expectations, but still look for patterns in work histories. One short-term stay in a job is not cause for concern, and neither is a series of short-term jobs that were designed to be short-term, such as contracts or internships. However, when there is a pattern of quickly leaving jobs that were not designed to be short-term, it can become a cause for concern for an employer.
When it comes to counteroffers from a candidate you have extended an offer to, my advice to employers is to proceed with caution. It is best to plan ahead for the possibility of your offer being countered so that you can respond rather quickly without stalling the process. Time lost at this stage of the game can definitely hurt the impression the potential new hire has of your company.
Candidates arrive at counteroffers a few different ways:
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.
Recruiting for your openings can be difficult, especially when you are an ag company looking for students without agricultural backgrounds or degrees. When your entry-level accountant position is open, do you really need an employee that understands the industry, or just a really good accountant? Now finding recruiting strategies that do not cause you to have two separate recruitment strategies or spend twice as much money on your recruitment needs can be a little difficult. However, you will be amazed at how AgCareers.com can be a resource for non-ag students! In 2015, 35% of our applicants held a non-ag degree and 41% of applicants were currently in a non-ag related occupation.
A few ways to strategically recruit non-ag students may be:
1. Look into attending non-ag career fairs or entire college career fairs. This allows you to interact personally with those students. A new option that we are launching this fall is the AgCareers.com Virtual Career fair. With over 35% of our job seeker community not currently in or with a background in agriculture you can interact with them from your desk. No travel fees, or wasting excessive amounts of time makes a virtual career fair the perfect place to recruit!
Agriculture has a higher need than any other industry for seasonal and temporary workers. These roles tend to last for 4-6 months and can be incredibly difficult to fill –usually the openings are for general laborers and are on-farm with long hours during the growing season.
Let’s take a look at some of the key factors to keep in mind when hiring seasonal or temporary staff.
You may naturally assume that this new hire won’t be around for long so you don’t have to spend too much time on training and safety, but the exact opposite is true. Even if they have prior farm experience, the hire doesn’t know you, your operation, your machinery, or the unique hazards that as an owner you probably don’t even think about anymore. Pair that with a new hire that is eager to please and just get the job done, and it could be a recipe for an on-farm accident. Don’t assume that they know everything. Take one day to do a walk around. Talk about confined space, talk about the chemicals you use on your operation, and even which animals may act unexpectedly or which loader has a hydraulic leak to be careful when the bucket is lifted. This kind of walk around also creates the right open dialogue that will continue through this employees’ term. No question is silly and you would rather be approachable and informative than have an accident on your farm.
Once you have hired an employee and relocation will be required, there are many actions an employer can take to make the transition go smoothly for them. Employees who are moving have a big challenge ahead of them, and much of what goes on in their lives in the weeks or months to come has little to do with their new job. Moving is mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging! The way you support the relocation is an opportunity to assure the new hire that they made the right decision to join your team, makes them feel valued, and commences a smooth onboarding process. Here are some things to consider:
Help the new employee see the pros of the relocation over the cons. Be enthusiastic in all your communications regarding the new hire coming on board. Help them see the new opportunity as professional advancement and the overall long-term value of the relocation.