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.
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.
It seems that the world of recruiting is growing increasingly competitive. Because of this more competitive environment, employers are finding themselves in a constant race to up the ante to attract and retain employees. Preliminary results of the 2017-2018 Agribusiness HR Review found that attracting and retaining talent is the current top concern of human resource professionals. The top two methods for combating the ever-increasingly competitive recruiting world is by offering better benefits and higher compensation. Competition for talent means more than offering a bigger paycheck and ice cream on Fridays. In the compensation and benefits arena, employees are interested in a total package of salary and benefits that reward them for the job done, incentivize them to do more, and are offered a solid benefits package.
Other insights provided from the HR Review noted that the most common months for reviewing salaries are January and December and increases are commonly implemented in January. As it is already October, now makes the perfect time to start planning how your company plans to compete for today’s talent. Of course, before determining what you will offer, it is important to take closer look at your compensation strategy, or develop one if you haven’t already. Determining what and why you will offer a certain compensation and benefits plan is essential to successful execution. In addition, knowing which benefits and compensation tactics excite your employees can make the difference between a successful compensation and benefits program and an unsuccessful one.
In Canada, new mothers are entitled to 17 weeks maternity leave and up to 35 weeks parental leave (Canadian government has plans to extend leave up to an optional 61 weeks of parental leave at a lower rate). Mothers who do not take maternity leave and all other new parents are entitled to up to 37 weeks parental leave. Employees on leave have the right to continue participation in certain benefit plans, continue credit for length of employment, service and seniority. In most cases, employee must be given their old job back at the end of pregnancy or parental leave.
This is a significant amount of time to be away from the workplace, and not without its challenges. Here are some tips for parents returning to work after pregnancy and/or parental leave:
Your employees are your organization’s most valuable assets. Helping them stay healthy keeps your organization healthy—with reduced absenteeism due to illness, and increased productivity due to better health. Promoting workplace wellness and implementing workplace wellness programs is one of best investments you can make as an employer.
According to the Agribusiness HR Review, wellness programs were among the 6th most commonly offered benefits for agribusiness employers. There are many ways that you can support work-life balance in your workplace – even with a limited budget. Start by finding out from your employees what wellness programs would support their work-life balance. Then back up your wellness program with policies, encourage employees to make use of your workplace wellness programs and affirm that tapping into these options will not negatively affect their employment with you.
Flared jeans aren’t the only thing out of style, time off plans and vacation policy are trending in a different direction as well. There is no denying that the manner in which we work has changed over the years, and it would only make sense that time off plans would evolve as well. It seems that more companies are transitioning from traditional leave plan that segment sick and vacation leave, to a paid time off plan that is designed to have one “bucket” of time off. Along with a new plan, employers are upping the ante with additional time off. In a time when most employees find it difficult to maintain a work-life balance, being able to offer employees a generous amount of time off is a perk that gets most employees’ attention.
According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 by the World Economic Forum, there remains a wide gap between women and men in economic participation and opportunity. When we look at the overall Global Gender Gap Index, Canada was ranked #35, while the United States was only #45. The U.S. ranking dropped due to the decrease in economic participation and opportunity score, with a sizeable gap in estimated earned income.
The Global Gender Gap Report notes the positive effect of increasing gender parity on economic growth – “Making full use of women’s capabilities paves the way to optimizing a nation’s human capital potential.” (p. 27)
In the AgCareers.com Gender Roles and Equality in Agribusiness Survey, women were asked if they felt they would be given more advancement opportunities if they were male. The majority, 72% felt they would be. So, are women content where they are at or do they want to pursue advancement?
No one likes to waste time. Time is precious. Whether you are recruiting talent for an opening within your company or you are the talent looking to make a career move, the more information you can gather about an applicant or a job opening, the more efficient you can be in accomplishing your goal. This is why it is more important than ever to include at least a range for the Salary field on a job posting. It boils down to attracting the right talent for the right role.
Put yourself in the place of today’s candidate. The resources available to search for a new job can be overwhelming, and companies don’t always follow the same rules about job titles and responsibilities. You see a role that seems to be a solid fit for your skill set, only to go through the whole apply process and find out that the level of the role wasn’t at all what you perceived. Does this sound familiar? Let’s face it: your current salary and expectations are always a factor as you consider a change. Many companies choose not to share any information around salary on the job posting, but that is a crucial piece of information for top talent. Even including just a broad range depending on experience would be helpful to a job seeker. That way, a recruiter doesn’t waste time with overqualified candidates, and the job seeker doesn’t waste time applying to something that isn’t a match for his/her salary expectations.
In a factory/production setting, it may be pulling an extra shift for a co-worker or it could be you need that extra income by making overtime hours exceeding your normal work week.
The requirements can vary state to state, but typically overtime is calculated for non-exempt employees as time and one-half per hour as we all know. This would be defined as an employee working more than 40 hours in one work week, for the hours worked over 40 – the employer would pay the employee for those hours at a rate of time and one-half.
If an employer is paying overtime and the workload or final product of the employee is not being completed in a timely manner, or to employer’s standards – the issues within the workforce need to be identified. Employee hours worked vs. end product/sales results must be correlated accordingly.
Guest Blogger: Shannon Latham, Vice President of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds
Women are changing the ag landscape. They’re bringing new ideas to the workplace, whether their place of work is the home office or the board room. While women have varying needs and priorities depending on their stage of life, “flexibility” seems to be the one job perk that transcends the ages (as seen to the l from the left AgCareers.com “Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness” survey).
Flexibility was certainly key when I was a developing young professional. I was working full time at an advertising agency while pursuing my MBA in the evening. Honestly, I was overwhelmed. I was a newlywed, who had recently purchased her first home and started a new job. I felt additional stress when I was traveling for work or needed to help pitch new clients. I also was stressing about the amount of homework that needed to be done each week.
Thankfully, my boss was a great mentor. He had empathy and offered a solution by giving me permission to flex my work hours. That way I could finish my homework before coming into the office, so once I got to the office my attention wasn’t divided. I was able to focus 100% on my client work, and as a result, my billable hours actually went up! My productivity increased when I was working (writing) from home without any interruptions. I felt good about what I was accomplishing. When a person feels good about what she’s doing, she does a better job!