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.
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.
“I wanted to stop by and tell you something, but I don’t want you to say anything.” Sound familiar? As an HR professional, it is sometimes hard to know who to tell and who not to tell. It can also be just as tricky to know how to properly safeguard information so that only those that need to know, do. So what’s actually considered confidential?
The answer? Much of it. Much of the information kept within HR should be confidential. Employee records must be maintained in such a way that only certain HR employees have access to employee data and information should be closely guarded through proper security measures. What does this mean? If records are electronic, access should be thoroughly safeguarded and if information is paper, it should be guarded via lock and key. Health information must also be maintained with a high degree of security and are generally to be stored separately from an employee’s file. An audit of employee files and safeguarding practices should help you gauge the strength of internal controls around employee information.
AgCareers.com recently released the twelfth edition of the Agribusiness HR Review. This one-of-a-kind report documents a range of human resource best practices and emerging HR trends from agribusinesses across North America over the last twelve months.
Positive indicators of salary increases and job growth were evident throughout the reports. And even though each year is laced with its own challenges, ag companies across North America are ready. Participating companies in both Canada and the United states reported that a large majority of their employees received an increase from July 2017 to July 2018. The predominant average increase received by both Canadian and U.S. employees was reported as 2.6-3.0% (26.19% U.S. and 24.53% Canada). Salary increases were coupled with a projected increase in workforce as noted by 64% of U.S. and 57% of Canadian participating agribusinesses. This number is up slightly in Canada and up 14% in the U.S. over last year’s numbers.
We invite employers, educators and agribusiness professionals to watch an overview of HR trends discovered in the report with our complimentary webinars on-demand. Register for free and watch at your convenience:
We know a thing or two about HR at AgCareers.com! So we decided to have a little fun and create a list examining the in’s and out’s with the letters of the alphabet. Let us know what you would add!
A – All-inclusive AgCareers.com – Need I say more?
B – Better Benefits – Offering better benefits historically ranks as one of the top methods employers use to compete with other employers. Mark your calendar now for AgCareers.com’s webinar coming up later this year, Total Wellness & Comprehensive Benefits.
C – Comprehensive Compensation – Do your employees a favor and research current market pay trends, which you can do with AgCareers.com’s exclusive Compensation Benchmark Review tool.
D – Devoted to diversity – Companies can achieve so much more with different backgrounds represented. Look out for the Diversity in Agriculture Virtual Career Fair this spring.
E – Engaged employees – Engaged employees are productive employees!
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.
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.
Benjamin Franklin said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” I know this to be true because my grandmother supported this by instilling in me that education is the one thing someone can never take from you. An HR Certification, will challenge you to learn more about the HR field and reinforce many principles you may already know. Once you’ve completed the certification it will signal to employers and colleagues that you are well versed in HR competencies. Think of it as a good housekeeping seal of approval on your resume!
As a first step to determining if a HR Certification is for you, it is worthwhile to identify where you are in your career path and where you would like to go. With that in mind, identify which certification makes the most sense for you to pursue. It is a good idea to meet with your manager, cover career goals, and your interest in a certification. Your manager may offer support as you purse an HR Certification and there also might be a chance that your company will support your efforts financially as well.
I would say that the 401(k) match really doesn’t get enough attention these days. So often it is easy to get stuck on the annual salary, but there is so much more to compensation than just the base salary. While an employer matching program is not required for the employer to provide, many employees and employers alike benefit from the program. Before getting into why a 401(k) match is a good idea, it important to understand what exactly a match rate is.
An employer will match up to a certain percentage of an employee’s contributions to their 401(k). For example, an employer may match 100% of the first 5% that an employee contributes. This means if you contribute 10%, they will match 5% and if you contribute 3%, they will only match 3%. In this case, if you only contributed 3%, you would be leaving 2% on the table. Of course, you’ll have to contribute more, but there goes the free money out the window if you don’t! If your employer offers a 401(k), be sure to research their vesting schedule and matching rate. A vesting schedule will determine the percentage of ownership you as an employee have over said matched funds based off years of employment.
An employee will leave a company for a wide number of reasons, but what are those reasons? Is there a rumor that employees leave your company for the competitor down the street for more money, when in fact they just feel underappreciated? How will you know the difference if you don’t ask, and more importantly, how will you fix what you don’t know? The answer: conduct an exit interview
The only way to ensure good talent doesn’t leave is to actively fix the issues that are causing employees to walk out the door. It is easy to blame employee turnover on speculation, such as they didn’t seem to get along well with others, or they didn’t seem to really like their position. The real issue could be the employee had little to no training and didn’t understand the essentials of their position. Once the real reasons of turnover have been determined, management and human resources should work together to ensure issues are remediated. What’s the point in learning about a problem if it isn’t fixed? Taking the time to sit with employees and discuss their employment experience can be fruitful for both the manager and employee. The list below describes just some of the reasons exit interviews are so important.
1. What does your company do well? Good data about your company walks out the door once the employee leaves. Maybe there is a manager that excels at developing employees or the flexible scheduling is what most employees love about your company. These are good tidbits you might already have wind of but, having concrete data that shows employees love them is important to have. Good data also walks out the door once the employee leaves.
2. Last chance to make a good impression. While there are occasions that an employee may leave due to no fault of the company, if an employee is disgruntled, the exit interview may be the last opportunity to hear out and smooth out any issues. A dissatisfied employee may have no issue telling their neighborhood about ABC Company’s crass managers, for example. In turn, bad publicity may deter others from applying for open positions, thus prolonging any recruiting pains.