Ag Retail Employee Survey: Sharing Your Vision

UPDATED: April 17, 2013

If the grass is always greener on the other side, how do you keep your existing employees? You show them how the grass is greener right where they are. How so? Talk to them. Talk about where the company is going, what role they can play in that growth and what bigger role they can aspire to.

We all want to know as much as possible what the future holds for us, especially in our professional roles. In our research, talking with 238 sales agronomists during June, we asked them a series of questions about where their company was going, their role in the future and how well the strategic direction of the company was laid out to them. Let’s look at statistics in the responses and identify actions that can be taken to reduce turnover.

When asked if their employer helps them learn the business as a whole or tells them to just do their jobs, 72% of respondents felt involved and that they were being trained to be more effective within the company. However, 28% of the employees felt like they were simply punching a clock and expected to show up, work and keep their mouths shut.

The fact that 28% of employees have a significant disconnect with the company direction was very telling when compared with our next question.

When asked: “Does your company share enough information with you so you know the strategic direction and how you can contribute.” 71% said yes and 29% said no. While we did not compare individual responses to find a correlation to both answers, the nearly identical negative response rate opened our eyes.

[Webinar On Demand: Recruitment and Retention Strategies for Businesses Of Every Size]

We very clearly could see from the survey results that if 29% weren’t told where the company was going, it manifested itself in a nearly identical 28% that were told to just do their jobs. Layered on top are the job satisfaction numbers from the October article showing  35% of our respondents were negative, wanting to change jobs and, in many cases, wanting out of retail.

Now imagine if that employee gets a call from another employer, a friend or a recruiter like any of us, and they were told there is an opportunity in their area. The scenario is that it’s been a long spring, they’re tired, and thus unhappy. Our pitch to them is simple. “I have an opportunity in your area with a great company that is in the process of implementing several exciting projects that will not only make it a great company to work for today, but will give you significant career growth opportunity down the road.” That one sentence is typically all it takes to garner attention.

Taking Three Steps

The question is: How do you proactively set that employee up to know there is green grass on your side of the fence? The answer is through three contact points with the employee.

First, at Ag1Source we are big believers in at least a monthly sit down with an employee. We actually hold weekly business evaluation sessions that only take about 10 minutes. In these meetings, you can assess where the employee is mentally and progress-wise towards their goals. If you sense the employee is tired or negative, ask them why and help them build a plan to overcome that. The key ingredient to this process is that you use these 10 minutes to not only assess morale, but give them an opportunity to learn about what is happening in the company.

Simple Conversations

You can accomplish this by saying simple things like “It’s not public yet, but you may be interested in knowing … ” or by engaging them in a discussion in which you ask their opinion on capital investments or marketing strategies. Regardless of the topic, it only takes a few minutes to make them feel like their opinion matters. This will be a constant reminder that while they may not always see them, there are projects going on that will not only enhance the company, but their future within the company as well. Investing a few minutes each week or month, can gain you years of service with your employees.

Second, on an annual basis, communicate to every single employee their worth to the business today, where the company is going tomorrow and their role within the company in the future. Knowing where the company is going gives all employees a vision for the future. One of our respondents to an open ended question summed it up quite well: “If I had a better understanding of our business model and strategic direction, I could make better decisions in my role.” These kind of employees that know where the company is going and making decisions every day that impact the future, are thinking about their role and how it impacts other employees as well. That is the kind of employee we all want.

The third contact point with the employee is training. The future of any organization is going to have larger roles, including management that may come from your existing employees. Continuing education and training on topics that set them up for the next role is one of the strongest messages you can send. As an employee, they now know that their employer is investing in them to be a bigger piece of the company in the future.

Your objective: To arrive at a level where that employee would never really have to look over the fence for greener grass when they have it right in front of them?

Finding The Ideal Candidate

For most ag retailers, the ideal new employee candidate is typically someone that excels in their current role but is frustrated and wants to make a change in employers. Why are they ideal? These individuals are ideal because they are good at what they do, enjoy what they do, they are ready to act and easy to recruit! As recruiters, we know that organizations with poor communication and lack of identifiable career paths are the most likely to have these frustrated or “ideal” candidates. When we find an organization with these characteristics, their high performers are easy to engage in a career change discussion and very happy to pursue an opportunity where they believe they are going to make a difference.

Use these contact points to share the future with your employees and you can take your key employees off the recruiters “easy target list.” By focusing on these simple opportunities, you can make a difference not only with the unhappy 28% but the entire employee base you need working at maximum efficiency every spring.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Ag Retail Employee Survey: Sharing Your Vision

  1. I agree with your two key elements for recruiting and retention: buying in to the vision and understanding your role. But I think there are a couple of elements missing. Based on our <a href="http://www.workplacedynamics.com/employee-survey/">employee surveys</a> of over 5,000 organizations a year – the other important aspects of the workplace are: belief in the leaders, and the ability to execute well. In combination, these things will significantly improve retention

State of the Industry Stories

Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Fertilizer application
State of the IndustryCautious Optimism On Fertilizer In 2017
January 10, 2017
What kind of fertilizer rates are growers and retailers looking at in 2017 and beyond? According to stakeholders CropLife magazine Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the IndustryCrop Protection Products Market: Complexity Begets Opportunity
January 10, 2017
While other key market segments in agriculture continue to see tumultuous shifts in sales volumes going forward (large equipment sales are Read More
Pioneer corn seed in storage
Special ReportsState Of The Seed Industry: Better Later Than Never
January 3, 2017
Traditionally, the majority of the nation’s grower-customers made their seed planting decisions in the late fall. Normally, when folks attended Read More
Trending Articles
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing…
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
BRANDT
CropLife 100Former PotashCorp COO Joins BRANDT Board
April 27, 2017
BRANDT has announced the appointment of another industry veteran to its board of directors. David Delaney, most recently EVP and Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsFortune: Inside China’s $43 Billion Bid for Food …
April 26, 2017
(Via Fortune.com) The worst famine in human history occurred in China from 1959 to 1961. An estimated 34 million people Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Changes in Board of Directors
April 26, 2017
ChemChina and Syngenta announced changes relating to the new Board of Directors of Syngenta following the closing of the ChemChina Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Introduces PerCarb Broad-Spectrum Bacte…
April 26, 2017
BioSafe Systems announces PerCarb (Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate), a new alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur products for use in Read More
Deere Twitter
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics for #Plant17
April 26, 2017
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
EquipmentAGCO Mourns Passing of Company Founder, Industry Vision…
April 25, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, mourns the passing of founder and former President, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsINNVICTIS CROP CARE Introduces VANDAL MOC Soybean Herbi…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has announced the U.S. EPA registration for VANDAL MOC, a combination of sulfentrazone plus metolachlor. VANDAL Read More
Kochia
HerbicidesINNVICTIS CROP CARE Launches STAVE Post-Emerge Broadlea…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has introduced STAVE as the newest addition to­ its expanding portfolio. STAVE will be a great Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Se…
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
BPIA logo
Seed/BiotechBPIA Files Comments with USDA
April 24, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) has filed comments with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Read More
Eric SfiligojHope for Application Equipment Sales
April 24, 2017
The old saying goes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” If this is indeed the case, then things may Read More
Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More