parental leaveMaternity or paternity leave–one of the few things in life we can typically plan for! There’s ample warning, but it can easily sneak up on you. It would be great if everyone could work ahead and have everything under control, but that’s not reality and often impossible. When you, or your employees, expect to take this parental leave, don’t wait until the last few weeks to wrap things up. Planning ahead before leave ensures you cover responsibilities and jump-starts a successful return to work later. This planning impacts all players on the team but falls into the hands of the employee taking parental leave, and their manager.


The employee and manager should meet a few months ahead of the planned leave. Develop a list of all current tasks and brainstorm who is completing what during parental leave. The easiest way to visualize this is through a chart or spreadsheet that can be shared as a Parental Leave Plan with other employees. Break down tasks into ongoing responsibilities and special projects. List at least four columns, including:

Published on August 22nd, 2019

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FFA chaptersInterested in helping local FFA chapters? Consider starting an FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter at your company or organization.


By Jami Stall, National FFA Organization


Grant Belden gets excited just talking about all the shared experiences an FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter can provide. Vice President of North American Shelling at Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts—one of many Archer Daniels Midland Company-owned entities—Belden is president of ADM’s FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter.


Because ADM employs so many past FFA members, the chapter originally was established more than a decade ago so they could serve local FFA chapters. Then it was decided the chapter should include anyone willing to volunteer his or her time and experience—not just former members.


Grateful for his own FFA days and his professional success in agribusiness, Belden views his efforts with ADM’s chapter as a way to reciprocate to an organization that profoundly impacted the course of his life.


“I’ve been very fortunate, very blessed, working for a global company that gives me the opportunity to travel extensively and learn all about soybeans and a luxury product like chocolate,” he says. I’ve lived in Nebraska, Wisconsin, The Netherlands, and Switzerland, and spent time working with colleagues in West Africa. Now I’m back, in the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga. To come full circle and be involved in our alumni chapter, connecting to FFA—the original organization—and to help other young people have these types of opportunities? C’mon, that’s brilliant, right? I think it’s an outstanding opportunity.”

Published on July 16th, 2019

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grow your networkYou’re not job searching, so why do you need to continually grow your network? Personally, and professionally, we all benefit from the exchange of information and services, cultivating relationships to build our business and our brand. If your organization wants to succeed, employees want and need networking and development opportunities.


Why you still need to build your network:


• The obvious social networking piece– more than 80% of ag employers use social media for recruitment efforts, up double-digits from last year.


• More than half of companies plan to do more graduate recruitment in the next five years. Students and young professionals know the value of networking and use it.


Published on July 9th, 2019

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roundtableWith 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?

Published on June 6th, 2019

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retention practicesI feel like there is this broken record playing – we are struggling to recruit due to lack of available talent. The 2018 – 2019 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.

Published on May 28th, 2019

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tiffany marketing internTiffany 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


Every day I get the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks with the 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


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 team when needed.


What advice would you give to employers using 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.

Published on May 24th, 2019

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dress codeDress 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.

Published on May 16th, 2019

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empowering employees with mental health issuesWe 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.


Published on May 7th, 2019

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challengesAgriculture 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.



Retention Challenges


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.

Published on April 25th, 2019

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employer follow-upWhat’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, 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.

Published on April 9th, 2019

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