Millennial workers can add tremendous value to your farm or ag business when they have the opportunity to provide input on processes within the company, says Joyce Manning, human resources and compliance manager at Southern States Cooperative headquartered in Richmond, Va. The cooperative serves 23 states primarily on the East Coast.
“They bring a lot of new ideas that are extremely helpful in identifying areas where we can improve,” Manning tells “Top Producer Podcast” host Pam Fretwell in an episode airing Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
Young professionals can also identify efficiencies that can be gained with technology. She recalls a millennial team member the cooperative hired six years ago who helped reduce the hiring process from up to four days to a few hours.
“She was instrumental in changing Southern States from a paper application process to a completely electronic application process,” Manning explains. “In doing so, this saved the applicant and the recruiters hours of time.”
The company recently held a millennial forum to get new employees’ thoughts on policies, procedures and ways to retain talented workers.
“We certainly recognize millennials are very interested in being a part of that process and helping the company improve,” she says.
It isn’t always easy to integrate millennials into a workforce that includes a number of long-time employees, but the outcome is a net positive for the company.
“We find that some of our long-term employees will receive the changes that are being brought to the table, but not all them are. Quite frankly, there is resistance that comes into play when we have change, and especially when the change is being driven by millennials, someone who has not been in the organization as long as the long-term employee,” Manning explains. “But what we’re finding is that the company is looking at change across the organization, and a lot of the changes that are coming into play are company driven. We recognize the fact that we have to make changes in order to stay vibrant and competitive in the work that we do. But within that, our millennials are making contributions to those changes very readily, and we think that’s very encouraging when you have a workforce and demographics that are changing and that everyone is able to contribute.”