USPOULTRY’s 2023 Workforce Success and Engagement Conference addressed how industry human resource professionals can help improve employees’ belonging and connection to their organization, in addition to many other topics. The seminar was held at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Destin, Fla.

Dee Walker, global director of compensation and benefits at Aviagen, provided a perspective on the onboarding and orientation process for new hires. She explained that it was crucial to establish a connection in new employees’ minds between their role in the company and its mission, vision and values. Incorporating corporate leadership and local management, either in person, through video or other message, was suggested as one way to introduce new hires to the organization’s culture. 

During her presentation on “HR Metrics: Understanding and Communicating,” Sarah Hendricks, corporate human resources officer at Peco Foods, emphasized that while there may be a wealth of data available in the human resources sphere, it must be made relatable to the managers and supervisors who have the ability to directly influence turnover. She discussed the value of employee surveys to capture the mood of the organization, but noted that if this was impractical, a simple discussion with employees about whether they would recommend their employer to a friend or family member could provide significant insight. 

As part of his presentation on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Ag Industry Success Stories,” Brandon Bell, diversity and inclusion lead - North America at Syngenta, emphasized that equity equals diversity and inclusion. He discussed equity-based examples that included areas such as pay equity, promotion policies, succession planning, leadership development, partner organizations and market engagement. Bell also provided tips and steps to consider when beginning a diversity, equity and inclusion journey. 

Bobbie Jo Bensaid, project coordinator for Mississippi State University, spoke about the importance of setting boundaries at work, along with personal considerations for healthy stress management. Among the suggestions for managing stress were journaling, speaking to a counselor or close friend, and making a conscious effort to be fully present (e.g., not replying to emails or on the phone) when around friends and family outside of work.  

Numerous other related topics were covered, with audience interaction adding value to the overall program. More information on upcoming seminars can be found on USPOULTRY’s website.