One of the biggest challenges I faced as an elevator manager was attracting quality talent for seasonal/full-time help. The elevator can be in tip-top shape going into harvest, but if you do not have adequate coverage, disaster can strike. I began to question why we had such a shortage of potential candidates. There were young people that worked in construction, restaurants, local grocery stores, but none would come to the elevator to fill out an application. We would put advertisements in the local newspapers and seem to get the same low quality candidates every year. Why was this happening? There are several underlying root causes.
The first reason is that if you do not have agricultural experience, an elevator can appear rather intimidating from the highway. Nor is it as approachable or familiar as a McDonald’s. The second reason is people are really unsure about what will be required of them if they have no agricultural experience. If you apply at a restaurant or grocery store, you have a general idea of what the job is going to be. The third reason is that the hiring process within the agricultural business is often times old-fashioned. These old systems can have a negative first impression on a millennial recruit. They want to see that the business is operating with the times, and has the technology in place to make work easier. This impression can start with the handwritten application process.
I grew up in the suburbs and spent the majority of my career in the agricultural business. I can honestly say that I had no idea what grading corn meant when it was on the job description. My point is that we need to better explain our job requirements.
This can be achieved with something as simple as a video of the work being done in the grading room, watching someone probe the truck, or load a train. A 10-minute video would draw a lot more interest when younger millennials visit your site. They might even think it is cool to climb ladders to the top of a bin. This increased knowledge of the job will lead to genuinely interested candidates, or more importantly, not give someone false impressions of the actual job. This will help you avoid the people you spend 2 to 3 weeks onboarding, just to have them quit in a week.
Cultura understands this pain really well, and we are thinking of a new way to help solve it. We appreciate our customers’ suggestions about a new technology, or even a current best practice. Please share your thoughts, were always interested.