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Hiring and self promotion

By: Don Tyler

 In recent years agriculture, and livestock producers in particular, have been experiencing a phenomenon that we were unaccustomed to—a well-funded and highly organized opposition to what we do. Their tactics are over-the-top, but can still have an effect on what young people, and even people in our local community, think about working for our business. When we combine this with a general lack of knowledge of the many job opportunities that livestock production offers, it is clear that we need to take a more assertive approach in promoting our company’s benefits to the local community.

There are some simple actions that a feed lot can take to combine promoting the positive aspects of their business with announcements of job openings. When a job opening is posted in the local paper or websites, a brief listing of what the operation contributes to the community can be included. Some items that could be listed are:

•    The number of years your company has been a part of the community, and the number of jobs your company provides.

•    Include your Vision or Mission Statement as a part of the advertisement, as well as a link to your website.

•    Mention the number of employees with more than 15 years of experience with the company.

•    Include the number of families that are employed with your company.

These bits of information provide the job seeker with a sense that your business is a significant part of the local community. To enhance that perception with a broader audience, and to make it common knowledge in your local area, it is important to be sharing that message in a variety of ways on a consistent basis.

Two ways to communicate the positive aspects of your business on a regular basis include putting a one-quarter to full-page ad in the local newspaper every month or every quarter, and having a website that you can point people to that includes key information. Here are some thoughts on what to include:

•    Basic information about your business—its history; the families involved; number of employees; enterprises.

•    What your business contributes to the local economy—the number of jobs; the number of families it feeds; the number of local vendors it buys from; economic activity it generates.

•    Pictures of employees—those who have worked for many years; those with perfect attendance this year; recipients of company awards or local recognitions; pictures of them with completed projects or new equipment; photos from recent company picnics or parties.

•    Your company’s stewardship—environmental projects, certifications, recognitions and awards; animal care and well-being policies; handling procedures, certifications; training provided to employees and truckers.

•    Societal contribution—calculate the number of 1/4 pound servings of beef your company produces and compare that to the number of meals eaten by the population in your county and your state; total hours of volunteer work your employees do in the local community; pictures of your employees doing volunteer work; donations of food, equipment use for local charities.

•    Beef Facts column—utilize the variety of resources from the national and state beef associations and list facts on beef nutrition, state and national economic activity and jobs provided, etc.

Having your company and your employees involved in local projects and volunteerism is a great way to promote your local contributions and significance. In most cases, it is simply mentioning what you and your people are already doing in the community. Some ways to enhance your message in this area, without appearing to “brag” about all your “good deeds” include:

•    Match the contributions that employees make to local charities. Establish an approval process and dollar limits for this activity.

•    Require each employee to donate 5 to 10 hours per year to volunteer efforts—any type of activity can count, but have a list of local contacts to make it easy for them to sign up and get involved.

•    Have a company “Volunteerism Coordinator” who is the main contact with local charities, tracks involvement, and posts reports of volunteer activities on the company’s website.

•    Have unique, brightly colored T shirts that everyone wears when they are doing volunteer work so that the community automatically associates your business with local involvement.

Also, help your employees become advocates for your business by educating them with all of this information.  As far as many people in the community are concerned, they probably have more credibility than the owners when it comes to sharing the positive aspects of you business.

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