Don't Complicate the Labor Crisis: Take Care of People, Page 2

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

Leverage assessments to help people win
Research shows that humans are not as good at selecting employees as they think, Hoek says. With the high costs of poor performance and turnover, it’s important to get the right people in the right job. 

“Our founder has a saying that you can’t lead without love,” Hoek says. “How do you truly love someone? You try to know everything you can about them – how they are wired.”

That’s why his company has been focusing on assessments and investing in “human intelligence,” he says. They utilize Cloverleaf, a digital tool dashboard that combines seven major assessments – DISC, Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, VIA, Culture Pulse and Strength Finders. The program coalesces your team into one dashboard for all of those assessments and pushes insights out to managers and leaders based on the assessments, Hoek says. 

“I think assessments have been underutilized in agriculture,” he says. “We want to build benchmarking tools for companies to look at – not only pre-hire organizational fit, but also to help take a look at team dynamics within a farm.”

Over the years, production records and production record analysis, have become the norm in pig farms. Hoek believes using human assessment tools to better understand the team dynamics of a farm will become just as important when coupled with production records in the future.

“We're starting to see leads in these farms look at the profiles of the people they are meeting with in advance so they can fashion their communication around how those folks take in information,” Hoek says. “It just gives people more information to interact with teammates so everyone is equipped to win.”

Although this tool is primarily used to drive leaders on the farm, it’s ultimately about helping all employees become better people and find their best fit, Hoek says.

Create an irresistible workplace
So, with all this in mind, how do you fashion your farm to be an irresistible place to work? 

“A lot of it comes down to basics,” Hoek says. “You just have to take care of people. It’s really not hard.”

Hoek believes there are five components of an irresistible place to work.

1. Culture: If you don't have a collaborative and engaging culture, the other components don't work.
2. Teamwork: Provide leadership skill training and use human intelligence to determine career and organizational fit of your employees. 
3. Team goals and objectives: Develop daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals to motivate employees and guide their performance.
4. Enhance task performance: Clearly define tasks, provide improvement goals and offer a clear line of sight with improvement and rewards.
5. Job satisfaction: Provide a clean environment. Align roles with the talent each employee offers. Take time to recognize milestones and great performance.

“Our industry knows we have some barriers that others don’t,” Sorenson adds. “But at the end of the day when people find meaning in what they do, believe in the values of the company, trust the leadership (their manager), feel good about the direction of the company, resolve their problems and feel appreciated, that seems to be the real guts of why people stick around or why they leave—any job.” 

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

Stop Treating Employees Like Commodities

Combating the Skilled Labor Shortage

Offer Employee Feedback Without Sounding Confrontational