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 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed 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
Latest News
StewardshipTFI Announces Renewed Financial Commitment To Fertilize…
April 24, 2015
Today, The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and over 100 partners will more than double existing Read More
Industry NewsMACA Names New Ambassador Coordinator
April 23, 2015
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) has named Michelle Kilper as its new Ambassador Coordinator. Michelle is a graduate of Read More
ManagementAg Retailer’s Role In Local Policy Making; Raising The …
April 23, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review their recent travels, precision ag efforts in Washington, DC, and the role of Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Precision AgIn-Cab Computing 2015: Connectivity, Compatibility Take…
April 23, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
USDA
StewardshipUSDA Outlines Building Blocks For Climate Smart Agricul…
April 23, 2015
Today, the USDA has announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Welcomes New Territory Sales Manager
April 23, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Kaitlyn Acaster to the Canadian sales team. Acaster will fill the Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Opens New Research Greenhouse
April 23, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Acquires Taxon Biosciences
April 23, 2015
DuPont has agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, Inc., a leading microbiome discovery company. This acquisition will build on DuPont’s in-house capabilities Read More
Farmer on tablet
ManagementStudy: Consumers Don’t Care If U.S. Farmers Feed …
April 23, 2015
“We’re feeding the world” is a mantra often used by those involved in farming and food to build support for Read More
Industry NewsCorporate Responsibility Magazine Names Monsanto One Of…
April 22, 2015
Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) named Monsanto Co. to its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2015. This is the Read More
FertilizerSpring Nitrogen Management: Form And Timing
April 22, 2015
Most corn producers have planned their spring nitrogen program for 2015, and many have already started to implement their program. Read More
FMC 3Rive 3D
Industry NewsFMC Corp. Completes Acquisition Of Cheminova
April 22, 2015
FMC Corp. has completed the closing of its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark Read More
SoftwareSyngenta Expands AgriEdge Excelsior Nationwide For 2015
April 22, 2015
Growers across the country can now take the guesswork out of improving their farm’s production, land value, farm stewardship and Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesU.S. Regulators May Start Testing Food For Glyphosate R…
April 21, 2015
U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, EPA told Reuters’ Carey Read More
FungicidesBRANDT Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
BRANDT has added Zonix biofungicide to its rapidly expanding line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix is a contact fungicide that Read More
ManagementMissouri Experts: Spring Planting Slow Start Won’…
April 20, 2015
In the first of the agronomy teleconferences with Extension specialists, University of Missouri Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said the slow Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
Industry NewsCooperative CHS Reports Net Income Of $471.5 Million Fo…
April 20, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has announced company net income Read More
Industry NewsCHS Insurance Names New Director Of Sales
April 17, 2015
Bryan Lewis has been named director of sales for CHS Insurance, the nation’s largest agribusiness insurance broker and full-service insurance Read More