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

Liquid Fertilizer Storage tanks
State of the IndustryComplex Fertilizer Market Brings Mixed Feelings
January 5, 2016
Declining fertilizer prices and plentiful supplies should be good news for growers facing low crop prices. But they and their Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the Industry2016 Crop Protection Outlook: The Guessing Game
January 4, 2016
One would naturally assume that retail sales of crop protection products in a contracted market would themselves be contracted, but Read More
Seed corn bags in storage
Special ReportsThe Outlook For Seed In 2016
January 3, 2016
Among all crop input categories going into 2016, the seed category has as many questions regarding which direction it will Read More
Wilbur-Ellis’ new fertilizer blending facility, located in Mott, ND, was designed by A.J. Sackett & Sons.
State of the IndustryBuying Intentions Survey: Retailers Taking A Prudent Approach In 2016
January 2, 2016
The CropLife® magazine Buying Intentions Survey made its debut last year to gauge current industry trends against the retailer’s plans Read More
Trending Articles
Southeast Farmers Coop - Finished Building
Retail FacilitiesNew Stueve Facilities Offer Ag Retailers Speed, Accuracy
July 9, 2016
Leading the industry in planning and constructing dry fertilizer storage and chemical warehouse solutions, Stueve Construction helped three ag retailers Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
FertilizerGypsum Added To List Of Conservation Practices
July 28, 2016
Crop farmers in a growing number of states may be eligible for financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover …
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact O…
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta: Beware Of Early Stinkbug Threat To Soybeans
July 28, 2016
With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug Read More
Peanut field
Crop InputsVerdesian Introduces New Inoculant For Peanuts
July 28, 2016
As planning begins for the next growing season, Verdesian Life Sciences adds Primo Power CL, a new liquid inoculant, to Read More
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More