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Struggling to Hire and Keep Good Workers? 2 Tips for Retention--and Growth

Written by: Guest   |   July 21, 2023

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By: Kristin Ireland, People Spark Consulting

Let’s face it: these are tough times for agriculture and animal food leaders. In today’s tight labor market, business owners are struggling to retain good workers—a complaint we hear again and again during meetings with clients and in conversations at conferences. In this tricky business environment (and really, at any time), the onus is on leaders like you to make employees feel valued, supported and engaged so they stick around.

The question is: how?

FIRST, start by asking questions.

Studies show that employees who feel engaged at work AGREE with the following four statements:

  • At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
  • I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.
  • I know I will be recognized for excellent work.
  • In my work, I am always challenged to grow.  

By asking questions, actively listening and inviting feedback, you can connect with, learn about and celebrate your team. When you do, employees will feel proud to work for a leader, and a company, they respect.

(Read this blog about the easiest way to make people feel appreciated and valued.)

SECOND, change the game with coaching conversations.

Here are the kinds of questions you might ask or observations you might share, either during an informal exchange or at a formal feedback session:

  • What were your top accomplishments in the last two weeks?
  • What are you most excited about working on right now?
  • I noticed you spend a lot of time researching the new project, which makes me think you enjoyed doing it. How did you feel about it?
  • I noticed how many great questions you asked when the project began. How did you feel about the work you were doing?
  • I’m curious what your next steps will be?

(Read this blog about a straightforward framework for giving meaningful feedback.)

During a coaching conversation like this, you get to connect with your employees by recognizing the work they’re proud of. You can support their development because you understand their strengths and interests. And you can guide them as necessary as they prepare for upcoming challenges.

For employees, having such a positive, authentic interaction shows that company leaders notice and appreciate their hard work, care about their job satisfaction and professional development and are invested in helping them succeed at work. 

All this goodness from a few seemingly simple conversations? You bet! 

Check back here soon for more strategies to help your business thrive.

_ _ _ _ _

People Spark Consulting is a proud member of the American Feed Industry Association. Kristen Ireland and Erin Mies regularly speak at conferences and events including the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives and various feed dealer advisory groups.

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