With labor markets so tight, the pressure on human resource professionals to successfully staff agribusinesses is tough, overwhelming at times. Perhaps solace can be found in knowing you are not alone. Join others facing similar situations to learn, grow and exchange ideas. Register today for the 2019 Ag & Food HR Roundtable, July 30 – August 1 in Ames, IA. Thank you to our hosts Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and BASF.
I believe that together we can make more headway on some of our deepest challenges. The Roundtable provides a close-knit industry event to work together to influence change. As a 2018 Roundtable attendee noted, “I always enjoy this conference. Energizing and motivating. The alignment between industry and academic is critical with employee shortage.”
Need even more reasons why you should attend?
I feel like there is this broken record playing – we are struggling to recruit due to lack of available talent. The 2018 – 2019 AgCareers.com Agribusiness HR Review reports that 71.43% of participating agribusiness said that their most concerning human resource matter was competing for talent and recruiting difficulties. Also, the HR Review reports that companies plan to increase their graduate recruitment due to competition for talent. We know we have challenges when it comes to finding talent and while many employers have some efforts around retaining talent, those that are focusing and developing retention strategies to combat this are more likely to have success because they have the people to do the work. Focus on keeping the people that we currently have. Simple, right?
It is a job seekers market and companies are getting creative with ways to recruit your top-quality employees. When we talk about this topic, most go straight to compensation. Yes, a lot of movement can happen due to compensation, but it isn’t the only factor to retention.
Tiffany Tomlin, a junior at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, joins the marketing staff, also based in Ames, for the summer as our marketing intern. Tiffany is an agricultural education major and participates as a member of the ISU Livestock Judging Team.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role with AgCareers.com?
Every day I get the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks with the AgCareers.com team. Some highlight items that I am currently working on include internship surveys, Career Profile extensions, promoting the 2019 HR Roundtable, and writing content for blogs, newsletters, and the Ag and Food Career Guide.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I enjoy having the freedom to take the lead on a wide variety of tasks. Through this, I am getting valuable experiences outside of what I would get in the typical classroom while having the help of the friendly AgCarees.com team when needed.
What advice would you give to employers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
Be as active on the site as possible! It is a great resource to find the perfect fit for your job opening.
Dress code in the workplace can be a tricky topic. Whether you work for a large or small company, you have most likely addressed this subject at one point or another. Questions surrounding this topic that may come up include, how do we decide what the dress code is? Or, why is a dress code important?
The dress code is established based on the kind of work your organization does and who/what they will be encountering every day. The dress code may change from day to day depending on your activities, but each organization should create a baseline for their employees. Here are a few reasons why dress codes in the workplace are important.
We spend a third of our day at work, so if we are experiencing mental health issues at home, they are sure to be present in the workplace as well. We all have a responsibility to support employees and create a healthy working environment.
1. Management sets the stage. Organizations have a great opportunity to positively affect a host of issues, including employee mental health. At a high level the management team is responsible for setting the tone for creating a positive environment. For example, if management regularly complains about employees being out for routine check-ups or personal matters, an employee is likely to feel less comfortable for taking time off to address mental health related issues. Employees should feel they have the support of management to address mental health concerns.
2. Resources and ease of access. Aside from creating an environment of support, providing employees with an employee assistance program (EAP) is a valuable resource. This type of program can help employees deal with stressors, personal issues, substance abuse, and many other issues. If you provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), make the information readily available and ensure managers are aware of the resource as well. In some instances, FMLA or a leave of absence may also be helpful, and management should have policies and procedures in place.
Agriculture professionals from in and around the Kansas City area gathered on April 3, 2019 in Overland Park, Kansas to discuss their top talent acquisition challenges. The peer networking group was compromised of 23 representatives from 18 different companies of all sizes representing 16 different industry types. The diverse atmosphere and backgrounds made for a great conversation about the challenges each company faces daily when it comes to recruitment.
Among the numerous topics that were discussed in each group, 3 key issues rose to the top. Retention, Remote Locations & Transportation and Career Pathing. While some of the organizations participating differed in industry type, they could all relate with these topics.
It’s no surprise that this topic quickly rose to the top for each representative. As we talked through this issue, many suggestions were given, and experiences were shared. Several shared the use of their employee dashboards. These technologies allow employees to take training classes, set yearly goals and communicate with their manager or supervisor. Other specified technologies were also introduced that allow manufacturing training, job qualification and even interview training for supervisors.
Mentor programs were popular among the conversation as well. Pairing entry-level employees or interns with a long-time employee or supervisor kept retention rates at 92% for one company. These types of programs allow the new employee to adapt to the company culture and give them a sense of acceptance and belonging they may be looking for.
What’s the most discouraging aspect of the job application process? Crickets! Candidates said, “no response from employers” was the most likely cause of a negative experience. Digging deeper into employers’ responsiveness in the 2018 Candidate Experience Survey, AgCareers.com asked candidates how often employers notified them about the receipt of their application. Unfortunately, one-third of respondents said they “rarely” or “never” heard from employers with a confirmation receipt indicating follow-up.
When a company doesn’t respond to an application, we asked candidates how this impacts their decision to apply for future openings with that company; the clear majority (87%) indicated a company’s lack of response was likely to impact their decision. Forty percent said a company’s lack of response made them very unlikely to apply to future openings.
And who’s more affected by lack of response? We found that employed candidates, passive candidates, and those that took longer to apply were significantly more impacted by a lack of response to their application materials.
It seems that the list of HR policies is ever-growing. While some workplace policies are mandatory, some workplace policies can be put into places as the result of an added benefit offered to employees. If you are considering adding a new benefit that is “off the wall” in nature, there are a few fun options you might consider.
Flexible Working Hours Policy
A flexible working hours policy allows employees the creativity of deciding which hours within the day fits their schedule best. Often times, a flexible working hours policy will contain core hours in which the employee must be at work or working and allows them the flexibility of when they will complete the rest of their work week. This policy can be great for locations with longer commutes or high traffic areas, allowing employees to maximize their day.
Behind only communication, the interview process is the second most influential candidate experience. AgCareers.com asked job seekers about their experiences in the 2018 AgCareers.com Candidate Experience Survey. Candidates will evaluate potential employers during the interview, with a direct impact on offer acceptance rates.
Talent Board has consistently found the top reason candidates drop out of the recruiting process is their perception that an employer disrespected their time during an interview. This can be caused by a manager running 30 minutes late to an interview, an interviewer being ill-prepared, or the actual job not being as advertised. The AgCareers.com survey found that ensuring the actual job description properly aligns with the job posting had the most influence on how the candidate will evaluate the interview.
Sufficient preparation by the employer is imperative to make sure the interviewer asks relevant questions, the second most influential factor in creating a positive interview experience. Interviewers’ personalities and knowledge also are influential.
Make sure your interviewer can passionately discuss and demonstrate your organization’s core values, mission, and vision. The interviewer should be able to tell the candidate how the role their interviewing for fits into and impacts the organization overall. Plus be ready to discuss continuing education, development programs, mentors and advancement opportunities.
Conflict, tension, …whatever you want to call it. Not a favorite for many, but it certainly has its place. It moves the needle. It draws light to areas for improvement. It can draw relationships closer together. You can find it most anywhere.
Learning how to work through conflict can ease the angst. Whether you are having problems with an employee at work or have recently gone through a big change you aren’t liking or having problems at home with a loved one, these three simple things can help you navigate and get a grip on conflict. Take conflict from a negative and turn it into something productive.
1. Stop telling yourself stories – our brain has a way of taking something small (or big) and making it bigger in our minds. You know what I’m talking about. You tell yourself what the other person is thinking, why they are acting this way, and what their feelings and intentions are. We make it up in our heads and I’d venture to guess that at least 8 times out of 10, our story is way more dramatic than it really is. The truth is you don’t know any of these things until you talk about it!