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

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. 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
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

Latest News

Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More