Recruiting new employees is one of the most daunting challenges facing pork producers, demanding the know-how to hire and retain the right workers. But recruitment and hiring are just the beginning of the story.
Orientation and training are also vital to making that new employee a successful member of your team over the long term. But first, where do you find your new employees?
According to Darra Johnson, director of human resources for Murphy-Brown western operations, employee referral is the No. 1 method for recruiting new workers. Murphy-Brown’s western operations unit employs approximately 2,200 workers on five farms.
“Our employees do a good job of describing the work involved to prospective new employees and will help them transition to become acclimated to the workplace if hired,” Johnson says. “The referring employee receives a referral bonus after six months, provided the new employee is still on the job.”
Training is a high priority for the company. Before starting work on their own, new Murphy-Brown employees receive thorough indoctrination and training in the company’s four-week on-boarding program which combines classroom instruction with hands-on work duties in a production setting.
The Murphy-Brown program consists of three sections:
- Animal-care policies including animal-handling and well-being requirements
- Environmental management
- Injury prevention.
Dedicated technical trainers are selected as instructors for the on-boarding program. Individuals chosen for these key positions must be technically competent and have good training abilities and a commitment to getting employees off to a great start. Throughout the four-week program, training modules and tests are completed by the new employee and evaluated by trainers.
The Murphy-Brown new-employee indoctrination procedure has provided benefits over traditional training programs. Farm managers are more effective when provided with workers who are capable of performing job requirements and who are fully aware of company policies. “We also have a better retention rate for new employees than we had before introducing the on-boarding program,” Johnson adds.
Farm managers spend a good deal of time recruiting and hiring qualified candidates. However, the time and expense can be wasted unless the fundamentals are in place to get that new employee off to a good start, according to Melissa O’Rourke, Iowa State University Extension farm and agribusiness management specialist.