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

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
CHS Safety Training
EmployeesAg Retailers: Hit The Mark On Safety
March 3, 2014
Here are some simple ways to effectively introduce or improve safety at your facility. Read More

Trending Articles

Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More

Latest News

Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTranform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 100…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More