5 Keys To Making Employees Stay

In the September and October issues of CropLife®, we dissected job satisfaction data from 238 retail agronomy sales people across the country. In those two articles, we focused on the statistics of employees considering a career change, and how simple steps can improve employee attitude and retention of those employees. The other statistic that jumped out at us was the percentage of “happy” employees. Our survey found that 20% of sales agronomists are thrilled with their role in the company.

Unlike the others, this group of employees is, for the most part, completely satisfied in their role, and sees their current employer as their long-term career destination … for now. What makes this group different than the other 80% of salespeople we interviewed is a concept called Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Careful attention to your EVP will keep this group engaged, and not falling into the “thinking of a change” category of employees.

Lou Adler, a well-known recruiting and human resource consultant, initially introduced the concept of an EVP in his book “Hire with your Head.” The idea behind EVP is to determine the “rewards of work” to an employee. In other words, answering the question “what do I receive in return for delivering great results in my job?”

In prior articles, we’ve discussed compensation, work-life balance, other rewards and becoming a destination employer. When combined, each of these parts and pieces build the framework of your EVP.

The Five Keys

An EVP can be broken down into five parts that if focused on, can help you keep those top 20% of performers that are thrilled to be in a sales role for you.  

■    Compensation.
■    Affiliation.
■    Work Content.
■    Career.
■    Benefits.

While these topics look fairly standard — and perhaps even boring — the real key to thinking in terms of EVP is to flip your frame of reference from that of “I pay you to do a good job” to a mind-set of “what rewards am I giving my employees for the work they do.” The employee is evaluating your value proposition on a regular basis and mentally determining if what you are giving them in return for their hard work is a fair trade. If another organization were to make an employment offer to your employee, these are the thoughts that will go through their mind.

Let’s go through the five rewards of work from the perspective of the employee and how, from their perspective, they are evaluating your EVP.  

Compensation. As we addressed in an October 2011 issue of Croplife, compensation is the primary “trade” for the work an employee does. Compensation includes base salary, incentives, cash recognition and awards. The employee values fair compensation for what they do and a chance to make more when the organization does well.

Look at your compensation strategy from your employee’s perspective. Is it clear and understandable?  Do they see the true value and opportunity you are providing? Employees don’t like financial surprises — does your package include surprises or unknown factors?   

Affiliation. This is best described as the feeling of “belonging” your employees have to the organization and your team. A strong sense of affiliation will create organizational commitment and loyalty for the employee. Affiliation can create more positive work environments and build trust within employees. When employees have a sense of belonging on a team with a good leader, they become your best ambassadors, sellers and recruiters of other employees because they want other good team members around them. Creating an effective communication strategy and an overall culture based on communication is a critical component to building affiliation. You can learn more about this in our last article which can be found in the November 2012 issue of CropLife in an article titled “Sharing Your Vision.”

Work Content. This is the satisfaction an employee receives from their work. Employees that believe they have very rewarding work, according to Adler, have a variety of tasks and a challenge always in front of them. They have autonomy to get the job done and feedback both positive and encouraging when something isn’t done quite right. Maximizing this area of your EVP includes creating a culture of career planning, educational planning (to enable and career goals) and a documented process to increase responsibility as goals are met.   

Career Rewards of Work. These are the long-term opportunities employees have for development and advancement. Career rewards are vastly different for each generation in your work force. Millennials are looking for any training they can get their hands on and a sense that there will be a promotion if they achieve a certain set of objectives. On the other hand, your Baby Boomers probably don’t want as much training as they want employment security that their job will be there until retirement. Each of these rewards is important and provides the employee regardless of their generation with personal growth.

A key component to filling the career rewards component of EVP is succession planning. If they are top employees, they are likely part of your succession plan. Do they know that? Are you capturing that value? You can find more information on succession planning strategies in the November 2011 issue of CropLife in an article titled “Thinking Ahead for Tomorrows Sake.”

Important Benefits

Lastly, Benefits. These round out the rewards of work as indirect compensation including health insurance, retirement and time off. As insurance premiums advance at a double digit inflation rate, our industry is not immune to wanting to “share” that cost with our employees. The employer is trying to manage expenses to hit a profit goal. However, the employee is evaluating how much those benefits are going to cost them out of pocket. The paradigm shift for EVP is that the employee needs to feel that the company is providing them a benefit, not an out of control cost.

It’s a tough balancing act, but we repeatedly see candidates spending more time evaluating the health insurance benefits of a job offer because it has become that important. You may give the employee a $5,000 raise one month and two months later, when health insurance rates skyrocket, take that raise back through increased premiums. When making that decision, think of your EVP and specifically how the top 20% of employees are going to feel about it.  

Creating and implementing EVP-driven programs and processes in your organization can be a significant shift in the way your organization approaches employee related activities. However, once your management team has an EVP based mind-set, not only will your top employees have a stronger tie to your company as an employer, but also your ability to recruit and attract employees from organization that aren’t focusing on these details will increase significantly.

Classic sales training teaches that success is dependent upon your ability to sell the features and benefits of your product or service. By creating a culture focused on EVP, you are consistently selling the features and benefits of your organization to both your current and future employees.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

EmployeesAsmark Institute Dedicates New Training Center To Ford West
August 6, 2014
The Asmark Institute plans to recognize the retired industry leader's years of service to the fertilizer industry at the new state-of-the-art facility in Owensboro, KY. Read More
EmployeesSyngenta: ‘Take Charge’ Of Farm Safety
June 4, 2014
Syngenta and health officials warn of four health-related challenges in agriculture and how they can be managed. Read More
EmployeesHead Start Program Prepares The Next Generation Of Ag Retailers
April 7, 2014
Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, in partnership with the Asmark Institute, are offering the Head Start Program to prepare students for work at ag retail facilities. Read More
EmployeesThree Keys To Employee Success
March 3, 2014
Increasing employee performance becomes much easier when managers follow these three simple things. Read More

Trending Articles

ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More
ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More