Becoming A Destination Employer

When business managers talk about being one of the best, they often think in terms of profit, customer perception and quality of service. Unfortunately, the ultimate measurement of being the best is rarely considered. The perception of your organization as an employer by both current and future employees is perhaps one of the most overlooked measurements of success in the retail agronomy business.

Your company’s ability to attract, hire and retain talented employees is one of the most critical components of your business. Organizations that have focused on this aspect of their business have grown into what we call “Destination Employers.” These are organizations that both potential and current employees refer to as some of the best places you can work — the ultimate destinations for your career.

[Read “Becoming A Destination Employer: Part 2″]

We will go into more depth on this topic through future articles, but here is a high level summary of what is being accomplished in each of these areas for organizations to be considered Destination Employers.

We have found one significant similarity amongst all organizations that are perceived as being Destination Employers within their marketplace. That common thread is that in each of these companies, the management team is constantly focused on, and participating
in, three primary activities:

  • Hiring.
  • Retention.
  • Employee Engagement.

Additionally, these organizations have taken each of those activities one step further by involving all
of the employees in the company with three other,
critical components:

  • Onboarding.
  • Communication.
  • Recruiting.

A Proven Design

Think of the Des­tina­tion Employer model as a three-legged stool.

The three-legged stool is a simple, efficient and effective tool that has been used for centuries. Its ability to out-perform other designs in areas of unevenness and inconsistency has made it more popular for many things in our lives such as milking stools and camera tripods.

The human resource component of your retail agronomy business is very similar. As with the milking stool, your human resource activities need to perform as well as possible in a very complicated and uncertain environment.

Note the picture of the stool. There are three distinct legs in the Destination Employer model. In this model, Hiring, Retention and Employee Engagement each need to perform equally to work. If not, there is no way your program can operate at a high level, and may collapse altogether if each leg isn’t performing at an equal rate.

Even the strongest and best of programs need additional support and strength to maintain growth. Again, refer to the picture of the stool. Recruiting, Onboarding and Communication are smaller, but equally-as-important functions of this stool. These are the braces or “stringers” that keep the program from collapsing under it’s own weight.

Here is how everything works together:

Onboarding. While onboarding isn’t necessarily overlooked by employers, it’s quite often not given enough effort. In most situations, a week of training, a few days with a co-worker, or even a simple meeting with a supervisor is all that is offered to many retail agronomy employees. What only the best companies recognize, is that regardless of how good you feel that your recruiting and retention is, it will NEVER be as good as it can be without an equal amount of time and money invested in an onboarding program. Without good onboarding, people will become easily frustrated or disgruntled over matters that should be insignificant. Unhappy employees leave quickly — which directly impacts the image of your company and your ability to recruit. Or worse, unhappy employees become disengaged and stay onboard, leaving you with unproductive and potentially demotivating situations for their co-workers. Onboarding is the brace that supports your investment in Recruiting and Employee retention.

Communication. If you look into previous issues of CropLife® magazine, you will notice that communication has been a reoccurring topic in our articles. While there are many reasons that will cause a good employee to become disengaged and leave an organization, many of those issues could have been prevented with better communication. In fact, research has proven that nearly 70% of people leave their jobs as a result of issues that could have been prevented with better communication from their supervisor and/or the overall organization. Companies that don’t put ongoing effort into improving communication with their employees won’t have a leg to stand on when it comes time to invest in employee retention and engagement.

Recruiting. The importance of effective recruiting in the hiring process is easy to see. However, what the best companies recognize is that their hiring program is only as good their overall employee engagement will allow. In short, your ability to attract talented people is only as good as your employee’s ability to speak highly of the company — when they are not at work! In our business, we often hear that everything is great. Companies explain how they always have conversations surrounding engagement and overall happiness with their employees.

A Matter Of Timing

Unfortunately, many of those conversations also happen in the same timeframe as annual reviews or the delivery of a bonus. Think about that — do you expect an employee to complain right after (or especially right before) you discuss their financial future? We couldn’t care less about what employees are telling you in those types of situations. What we want to know, and what should be your No. 1 concern, is what are your employees saying about your organization AFTER 5 p.m. on a Friday?

If an individual is unknowingly targeted as a potential employee, and happens to bump into one of your employees at a Saturday evening social function, how will they respond to the questions “how do you like your job?” And, “what’s it like to work there?”

The concept of Destination Employer is easy to understand, but incredibly challenging to implement. The ability to grow your company into being perceived as the employer of choice in your market is entirely dependent on the ability of your entire organization to implement and participate in each of the six critical components. From hourly/seasonal employees, on up to the CEO, everyone affects your ability to become a true Destination Employer.

If you would like to learn more about how you can start your organization down the path of becoming a destination employer, Mike Smith and Mark Waschek will be conducting a breakout session entitled “Becoming A Destination Employer” at the upcoming Agricultural Retailers Association conference, December 3-5, in Miami, FL.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Becoming A Destination Employer

  1. The second to last paragraph is so important, but so easily overlooked by many employers because too many think the job of employee retention is done after the new hire’s first day on the job.

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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More