We’ll soon experience the change of seasons and celebrate Thanksgiving. As I write this Christmas is less than two months away! What will your employees tell their families about your company’s paid holidays policy? Will they be bragging about the time they have off or complaining about the ridiculous demands days spent away from family?
It should be no secret that adequate compensated holidays, aside from standard company allotted paid time off, motivates employees by giving them rest and time spent with family. Agricultural companies have a stereotype of being stringent and inflexible. Live animals and production environments often lend to this perception. Do you fall in this category? How does your organization compare to what others in the agricultural industry are offering their employees?
According to the AgCareers.com Agribusiness HR Review in the U.S. most ag employers participating in the survey, provide employees 6 paid holidays. Most companies provide somewhere between 6 and 10, a combined 79.20% of companies. Six paid holidays was the most frequently selected response (20.79%), followed by 10 (19.80%). Although, some companies provide as few as 5 paid holidays and some 11 or more.
Working late, during happy hour after work, over lunch, or a by-chance meeting outside of the office. You never know when or where an office romance may bloom for employees in your organization. While nothing is sweeter than two people finding their meant-to-be, an organization stands to possibly suffer from budding love.
While you may wish your staffers well, inevitably issues can creep in. Negative implications could quickly arise in the form of rumors, gossip, that leads to perceived favoritism, partiality, and bias. It doesn’t take much to lead someone down the thought path to discrimination. There could be loss of productivity, protocols and processes could be compromised. The company could suffer from the absence of both employees during family vacations and events. What happens when one of the two ends the relationship? How do they continue to do their jobs and remain cordial?
Performance rewards go a long way in building a positive relationship between employer and employee. Over 70% of ag companies have a structured performance system in place, according to AgCareers.com. This data recently released by AgCareers.com, in the annual Agribusiness HR Review, a survey that benchmarks human resource practices and trends among agricultural companies. Undoubtedly, agriculture identifies with the opportunity to support growth and achievement within the industry while creating value for the workforce that supports it.
Over 90% indicated staff performance was linked to rewards ensuring that employees must meet establish goals and objectives to be rewarded. In addition to staff performance, companies also used company performance, individual performance as basis for performance rewards. Additionally, team performance (42.17%) and business unit performance (33.73%) were also noteworthy factors, a new trend for companies aiming to support the efforts of collective groups of employees working toward a common goal.
Maybe you are happy a low performing employee is finally on their way out. Maybe you’re sorely disappointed your star employee is going to work for a competitor. Maybe you didn’t see this one coming or maybe you’ve expected it for a while. When an employee prepares to leave your organization you should be preparing for the exit interview.
More than eighty percent of organizations conduct exit interviews with employees according to the 2015 Agribusiness HR Review. For obvious reasons of course, you don’t know what you don’t know. Furthermore, you can’t create a better work environment if you are unaware of the problems that exist. You also can’t support and protect specific items that contribute to employee engagement if you are unaware of what those are. Regardless if your turnover rate is half a percent or 30 percent, an exit interview is a prime discovery opportunity for the company. Much can be gained from your employee’s thoughts and reflection on their experience while employed with you. There is value in learning from any employee how you may improve operations, culture, leadership, etc. Capturing and documenting feedback can be a first step in helping influence much needed change.
Before making a hiring decision for your operation you want to make sure that the candidate you hire is a good fit. An interview is intended to help you make an informed decision about which candidate matches the skills, knowledge and motivation of the position. Making the right hire reduces your cost per hire, improves your employee turnover rate, as well as improves your staff quality and work environment.
An essential part of interview preparation is formalizing a list of questions for use during the interview. As you think about the questions you typically ask prospective employees, consider the effectiveness of each question. Most questions should center on job knowledge and if the employee will be a fit for your operation (likes and dislikes). Avoiding questions that can be quickly answered yes or no, can help maximize the amount of information you collect from a candidate. It is also important not to lead the candidate into responding a certain way with phrasing. Example: You are a hard worker aren’t you? Interview questions should help you learn more about the candidate without being overly forceful or intimidating. Avoid questions or using a tone that is accusing or could make a candidate fill interrogated or uncomfortable.
In AgCareers.com’s recent webinar, Telecommuting as a Flexible Staffing Approach, Dr. Di Ann Sanchez shared countless advantages of adopting a telecommuting policy. Surprisingly the benefits were mutually beneficial to both employees and employers alike. She sighted big wins for companies like increased retention, boosted productivity and improved efficiency. Telecommuting employees also profited from this flexible work arrangement by reducing stress and illness, along with improving their overall job satisfaction.
In a recent study, AgCareers.com revealed of the companies offering flexible work arrangements 60% to 70% provided a work from home option to employees. In some cases ag employers even utilized telecommuting options as means to compete against other employers for talent. If your agribusiness company is ready to move forward with allowing employees to telecommute, here are a few tips to help you get started:
1) Create a Policy – Your first step should be to think through the details. What will the company pay for? What will the employee pay for? Who pays for the furniture? What are the home office requirements? How will you track hours and overtime? A thorough policy detailing procedures and expectations need to be outlined.
2) Define Which Roles are Eligible – Many roles are easily adaptable to telecommuting, while others just don’t make sense. Determine which positions would be considered acceptable for the employee to telecommute and those that don’t work.