Employee engagement is a measure of how emotionally attached a staff member is to their job, coworkers, and employer. An “engaged employee” is fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Your staff members that are actively engaged will work to not only meet their goals, but the organization’s goals.
Employee engagement may be challenging with a remote workforce or off-site employees. You miss the daily “How’s your day? What did you do last night?” face-to-face conversations. You don’t have an easy shared connection to discuss local events, sports teams or even the weather forecast. It’s more difficult to find out what remote employees really like, what their hobbies are, and generally just get to know them.
Not only can remote employees feel left out, but it may be more difficult for other staff to communicate with remote employees. There are actions you can take as an HR representative or remote manager to connect and make sure all your employees are feeling engaged with each other.
Encourage employees to interact with simple events and get-to-know-you activities. AgCareers.com organizes “3 Questions of the Month” for all employees. We ask everyone the same series of questions via email. We share all employee’s responses (that choose to take part) with the entire team in an email or document. This always entices fun conversations between all!
Various versions of the mantra, “To be unclear is to be unkind” have been stated by leadership gurus like Brene Brown and Dave Ramsey, and I can identify with their perspective. As leaders, we can’t ignore issues, and it doesn’t serve anyone to dance around the elephant in the room in hopes that it will magically go away. Caring about your team members means having the courage to deliver difficult feedback. They say the best friends, true friends, are the ones that care enough to tell you something you don’t want to hear…but need to hear. We all know that we need to do the right thing in addressing employee issues, but it’s a tricky recipe of timing, empathy, attitude, and the list goes on. Here are three reminders I strive to incorporate as I prepare to address an employee issue.
1. Check your attitude and assumptions.
It’s so easy to go down the path of making assumptions and weaving a storyline in our heads about the motivations (or lack of motivation) of a team member. Harboring resentment is completely unproductive when it comes to handling an issue with an employee. The key is realizing the minute we start down this path. I personally find it helps to write those negative thoughts out…literally get all of my assumptions out of my head and down on paper. That way, I have the opportunity to move all my opinions to the side and focus on the facts and desired outcomes. I love how Henry Cloud positions how we should focus feedback: “hard on the issue, soft on the person”.
It would be unheard of to make it through a career without having coworker conflict along the way. They say that you spend the most time with those you work with, so it is only natural that situations will arise. When more than one person is involved, there will be conflict. Conflict in general is just a fact of life. Now that we’ve agreed there will be conflict, what is the best way to deal with it? Perhaps flushing out what not to do first would be best.
1. Don’t stir the pot. In other words, do anything that might add to the conflict. This includes gossiping about the issue, responding in a harsh tone, showing them who’s boss, or getting back at the individual. All these responses to conflict will certainly only escalate the issue. Not to mention your superior will be judging you on your response, so keep it professional. This point also addresses any conflict you might witness while at work. Getting others bothered over someone else’s actions is never helpful.
2. Don’t keep pushing the issue aside. In most cases it would prove beneficial to address the issue instead of pushing it aside. Instead of blowing up over a small issue, deal with the small issues one by one to avoid a larger conflict. A quick conversation with those involved, will go a long way.
Tis the season for giving! I love giving. I seriously do. It is my favorite thing to buy things for others (my husband will show you our credit card bill to prove it). And I’m thankful and glad to be in a workplace environment where office holiday giving charity initiatives are implemented. However, I’ve learned over the past few years of doing things in the office that there are some things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to be mindful of when doing office holiday giving initiatives.
Pick a charity that will be fun for staff members to participate in. Choosing gifts for a giving tree initiative or toy drive is easily fun for shoppers during the holidays. Or choose something with a prize incentive that makes for friendly competition.
Participation is awesome and really unites the office. It can also lead to a really successful initiative. Many offices, in fact, hold incentives to encourage participation like getting to wear jeans to work or paid time off for every so many dollars worth raised or cans of food collected. While it’s great to encourage participation, don’t require it. Not everyone may have the means to give back, whether financially or timing-wise. Participation should also be optional because of the following point.
Your business didn’t have a stellar year and you’ve already told your employees they won’t receive year-end bonuses. Company-wide performance oftentimes determines employee bonuses, which may be affected by numerous aspects outside an individual employee’s responsibilities, such as economic climate and leadership decisions. If you find yourself in this situation, but still want to show your gratitude to your staff, there are some low to no-cost alternatives you can implement now! It’s called the gift of time.
These ideas require time away from the workplace, so you may need to alternate staff for coverage or plan accordingly. Most organizations offer a small holiday break, but it’s usually on Christmas or after. People are feeling the weight and stress of the holiday season NOW. Year-end projects at work, planning for the new year, along with the outside pressures of holiday gatherings, activities, and shopping can make employees stressed, grumpy, and less-productive at work.
Unlike many industries, office views in the agriculture industry can vary quite a bit. Your office may be in the cab of a tractor, out in the open prairie checking on your cattle herd, or in a manufacturing facility.
There are many, however, who still work in a traditional office setting, and if so, there are several things you can do to spice up your office and give it a fun and agricultural flair but still have a functional vibe. If you are like me, your workspace plays a huge role in your productivity so personalizing the space, as well as having an organized one, is an important factor. Here are some fun tips to elevate your “ag style” and stay organized.
If you are like me, it doesn’t take long, and random papers start accumulating on my desk and before you know it you have stacks upon stacks! We all know this is not functional, especially when I start looking for that very specific piece of paper and it is nowhere to be found. Having a filing system is important to keeping your documents in order. Some even suggest using a color-coded filing system and separating it into color-coded categories.
What’s your compensation philosophy? What about your compensation strategy? How are you going to compete with companies for that sought-after talent? Or are you worried about competing at all? We all know that a competitive compensation strategy can help you retain better talent. Taking a look at your current compensation plan and understanding how it stacks up to other organizations can help identify where you are or aren’t effectively competing for talent.
According to the recent 2018 Agribusiness HR Review, 42.59% of Canadian participants compete with other employers by offering higher compensation and 44.05% of US participants noted the same. There are certainly companies doing due diligence to determine their competitiveness within the market. Companies that have recently completed a compensation study may be able to better determine if their pay practices are in line with their compensation strategy. A little over half (53.57%) of participants have conducted a compensation study within the past year in the US and 44.45% of participants in Canada also completed a compensation study within the past year according to the 2018 Agribusiness HR Review. Within that same survey, it was noted that in the US, 95.04% of companies increased salaries during the past 12 months and of those that received an increase, the predominant average increase received by employees during 2017-2018 was 2.6% to 3.0%, (26.19%). This data continues to affirm that companies are increasing wages across the agriculture industry, making it even more important to remain competitive for quality talent.
Jessica Bartow joined the AgCareers.com team earlier this year as our Western US Talent Solutions Specialist. Jessica is based in a home office in California.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role with AgCareers.com?
I help my clients with whatever they need – posting jobs, compensation data, registering for events, etc.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I love the ag industry and am so thankful for the opportunity to help our industry leaders find and retain talent.
November is the most popular month for filling and completing internship offers in the agricultural industry. If your organization is going to hire the best talent, you better be finalizing your internship offers now!
They say it’s a job seeker’s marketplace, and data collected by AgCareers.com lends this idea to truth. We surveyed agricultural employers about their recruitment and hiring of students for the 2017-2018 Intern & New Grad Hiring and Compensation Report.
Even though the clear majority (73%) of ag organizations told us that intern pay rates were non-negotiable, interns have options – they’re often evaluating multiple internship offers. For those employers that have a bit of flexibility, they said they can negotiate intern pay rates based on some of the following criteria:
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert when it comes to work/life balance. Lord knows that I struggle with this sometimes. Throw in business travel and you have another caveat to what work/life balance means.
A lot of people think that business travel is so glorious. While I’m not complaining and will admit that I’ve gotten to see and go to some pretty amazing places, the norm isn’t quite so glamourous. Travel in, have meetings in a hotel, travel out! It makes missing home and all the things you could/should be doing a bit more top-of-mind.
Again, no expert here, but I have found a few things over my years of travel that have definitely helped with balance.