Andy Hanacek

Once again this year, The National Provisioner doled out the HREVOLUTION Awards to meat and poultry processors who implemented successful initiatives in the realm of human resources and worker safety. To read about the winners of this year’s awards, see the supplement, located between pages 10 and 11 of this issue.

And once again, as the editor spearheading the effort and visiting most of the processors who won the award, I must say how impressed I am. These processors understand that in the business world today — regardless of what business you’re in — success boils down to the people who carry out the day-to-day mission of the company.

These processors look beyond the bottom line and invest in those people to make their workplace experience better or give them further incentive to do a great job and/or stay safe. Certainly, each one of these programs cuts into the company’s bottom line, but these processors deem the programs necessary to increase worker safety or efficiency.

Furthermore, programs that make employees’ outside lives better give companies another recruitment tool in the often-tough job markets that processors face, given their locations. A health-and-wellness program that goes above and beyond the standard health insurance offered by many companies can attract quality employees to your business, and then give them an additional reason to stick around and invest their best in the company’s business. Same thing goes for emergency assistance programs.

Certainly, these types of programs are icing on the cake for an employee. Processors must continue to keep their eyes on the ball in terms of the basic needs of employees. For example, one cannot offer a health-and-wellness plan at the expense of, say, worker safety.

The meat and poultry industry often gets a bad rap when it comes to the working conditions, particularly on the plant floors and in the slaughterhouses. It’s a longstanding stereotype, of sorts, that we at The National Provisioner wanted to help punch holes through. Yes, working conditions at the plant level are rough, and they’re certainly not sitting in recliners relaxing for 8 to 12 hours a day on those lines.

However, the HREVOLUTION Awards, in its three years of existence, has gone a long way to tell the world that meat and poultry processors do care about their employees, do understand that they work hard under difficult conditions, and do offer those employees additional benefits to improve their workplace and their livelihoods.

HR executives and employees around the industry have often toiled away in the shadows on these initiatives, and the awards give them the credit they richly deserve. If your HR team deserves an HREVOLUTION Award for its innovative programs, I encourage you to contact me and nominate your company for the award next year. It pays to let the world know that your company is a top-notch employer that cares about its people.