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Labor: Culture is set from the top down

Company ownership and top management are critical to creating a workplace where employees have a positive experience.

“It starts at the top with leadership and what the company culture is,” says Rex Lawrence, president of Sacramento, CA-based Joe Produce, LLC, BB #:364007 an executive recruiting service and online job center.

“Some owners and managers talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. If people are happy doing what they’re doing, compensation doesn’t matter as much—as long as it’s fair.”

The Employee Experience Index report, from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Workhuman Research Institute, shows many employers are failing in this objective, with 44 percent of employees saying senior leaders are providing clear direction on where the organization is going, and 37 percent reporting their managers are not effectively serving and supporting the team.

Factors such as sustainability and diversity also are essential for many younger employees.

Nathan Stornetta, director of client relations and executive recruiter at Produce Careers, Inc., BB #:164340 with locations in Arroyo Grande, CA, and Carmel, IN, says produce companies are increasingly rebranding themselves as strong in sustainability and emphasizing this part of their story on social media and other marketing channels.

The idea is to connect with consumers, but prospective employees are reading this messaging and factoring it into their decision-making as well.

Heartbeat by Peakon: The Employee Expectations Report 2020, from AI-based HR platform Peakon, found employee worries about their employers’ environmental impact climbed 52 percent globally in the past year.

Peakon also found concerns about diversity and inclusion rose 19 percent for the same period, and this was before George Floyd was killed in May 2020, which catapulted the issue into headlines worldwide. Diversity is a key facet of fostering a sense of belonging, the research found, and this decreases turnover by 50 percent, and absenteeism by 75 percent.

Defining A Good Workplace
“Typically, employees don’t leave for money, they leave because they’re underappreciated or underutilized,” points out Lawrence.

Kristen Reid, executive vice president of Mixtec Group, BB #:152072 based in La Crescenta, CA, concurs.

Feeling valued is important; everything from asking employees for their feedback and investing in their development to providing time off for volunteering or community involvement will help associates feel valued and happy.

This is a multi-part feature adapted from a story in the September/October issue of Produce Blueprints magazine.