December 22, 2016

Hire and Retain Quality Employees

 |  By: Margy Eckelkamp

There are specific tactics and tips that ag businesses can use to retain the best employees.

“This includes how to attract them, how to measure what is going right and how to keep those employees on your team,” says Bob Broeckelman, vice president of recruiting and selection for FCC Services.

His approach is to challenge your status quo.  

“We typically hire people like ourselves,” he explains. “But we need to look at the job and what kind of person fits the job. Usually people are hired for what they can do, and they are fired for who they are.”

According to USDA data, 20,000 ag jobs go unfilled each year. Broeckelman says it isn’t due to a shortage of potential employees.

“There’s no shortage of people,” Broeckelman explains. “It’s tough, yes. But it’s an issue of how we find them. People work for people. They don’t work for businesses.”

His system uses “a funnel for success.” It includes multiple evaluations, an independent review of those assessments by someone other than the hiring manager and then phone interviews of validated candidates.   

“When it looks like a potential job match, we further clarify the role by using the phone screening method to determine if their competencies and beliefs are aligned with the role of the job,” he says.

Management enjoys knowing their time is best used only by interviewing referred quality candidates and reducing their hiring cycles and time spent in the process.

Tips For Ag Businesses

  • Be honest about job requirements, including seasonal expectations.
  • Don’t hire someone from more than 100 miles away. People want to return home, particularly Generation Y.
  • Promote employees who like to manage as managers. “Too often in our organizations we promote good employees to become managers, and they are not suited for the job,” he says.  
  • Reward employees for new employee referrals. According to Broeckelman, three-fourths of employees come from referrals. And current employees are the best recruitment tool.