One of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges facing Processors in the Food and Beverage Industry today is the attraction and retention of good talent. It’s a subject matter that brings companies of all sizes and aspects of industry (including service providers and Government partners) together. Regardless of the Sector, an aging population, a multi-generational workforce, and a lack of students embracing a potential career in Manufacturing in general, are all factors lending to the difficulties companies are experiencing in hiring and retaining good people.
This very Special GF2 (Growing Forward 2) Networking Event presented the perfect forum to learn from best practices, gain insight on some interesting programs and learn about resources as it relates to Retention and Attraction. Participants came from across Ontario – some over 2.5 hours away - and all interested in learning from the challenges their peers were facing, garner insight on what is working and what is not. Attending to lend consideration to new thoughts, processes, innovative approaches… And, hear about the resources and support available through Community Partners and Service Providers who have best interests at heart for the industry.
|City of Brampton, Economic Development and Culture (www.brampton.ca): |
- Andrea Williams, Economic Development Coordinator
We were very grateful to have the City of Brampton’s Economic Development and Culture Department act as our host for this event and Andrea Williams, Economic Development Coordinator, provided a fabulous overview of the Food and Beverage Sector in Brampton.
Brampton is at the heart of Ontario’s food cluster and employs 9,000 people by 150+ companies in food and beverage manufacturing and supporting services. It is the second fastest growing City in Canada with a diverse population representing more than 200 cultures. The talent pool is highly skilled and 50% of their workforce has post-secondary education. It is clear that the Food and Beverage sector is a prominent industry in Brampton, generating over $2 billion in revenue.
The team at Economic Development and Culture is focused on providing support to all Brampton businesses. They embrace the prospect of connecting through personal calls and visits and are eager to understand the opportunities and challenges you encounter. Youth Workforce Development is a front-facing topic and they are in the midst of developing a strategy to provide programs and resources to assist both employer and employment preparation.
Manufacturing GPS Program:
Representing EMC’s Manufacturing GPS Program, Scott McNeil-Smith and JP Giroux, did a fabulous job of laying the foundation as far as current industry challenges with respect to the subject at hand.
Scott told us that in everything we see and hear, for Manufacturers, skills and labour shortages are always (or extremely close to) Number One. Companies now are not only competing for new business but also for new talent at the same time.
Causes of hard to fill vacancies:
- Applicants lack of skills required
- Applicants lack of work experience
- Low number of Applicants
Most wanted Jobs:
- Machine Operators
We discussed other issues including involuntary turnover (such as consolidation and fit issues), and voluntary manufacturing.
The Manufacturing GPS Survey was presented as a necessary real-time tool for Companies to utilize. This is a free resource providing critical labour market intelligence for Manufacturers and Stakeholders who take part in populating the Survey which was released last year to 5,000 Manufacturers across Canada.
The Survey looked at 80 occupations and within the Food and Beverage Industry, nine functional jobs (ie. Tester). It provides insight on elements such as:
· Labour Market Supply and Demand
· Tracking of Key Workforce Trends
· Customization of LMI Reports
· Evergreen Industry Data
· Occupational Skills Needs
· Benchmarking Capabilities
Detailed reports can be accessed on items such as:
· Wages (Benefits, Key Occupations, etc.)
· Hiring (Difficulties, Employment Statistics, etc.)
· Vacancies Report (Causes of Hard-to-Fill Vacancies, Numbers, etc.)
· Skills Development (Average Amount of Spend on Training, Skills Developed, etc.)
· Workforce Profile (Nature of Manufacturing Positions, Age of Employees, etc.)
· Manufacturing Profile (Scope of Production, Recruitment and Sales, etc.)
As we reviewed these elements, discussion ensued about knowledge regarding worker’s mobility across the Sector and that this would be an interesting statistic to gain insight on not only within the industry but across the Sector as well.
Training costs were also of interest and according to the information provided through the Survey, Canada as a whole spends around $500 pp – the Food Sector in general is only at $300 pp.
General discussion ensued on replacement rates, which are higher in Ontario than the rest of Canada, stability of salaries (which are following the inflation rate) and Non-Salary Benefits (how can we be innovative, tradition options versus new opportunities).
There are dynamic and fully customizeable reports with industry and area specific information.
To learn more about this incredible resource, check out the website at www.ManufacturingGPS.ca. Log on, complete the survey and access the reports!
Manufacturing Essential Skills Program:
Complimenting our discussion on training needs, JP provided an overview of EMC’s Manufacturing Essential Skills Program. Essential Skills aid in learning other skills including problem solving techniques:
- Job specific skills
- Technical skills
- Essential skills (maths/operational procedures/job specific skills)
Please feel free to reach out to JP (firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time to learn more about the potential to launch a program of this nature in your facility.
|Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. (www.maplelodgefarms.com): |
-Kristi Barnes, Human Resources Director of Performance Culture
We were extremely pleased to have Kristi Barnes, HR Director of Performance Culture for Maple Lodge Farms, a large chicken processor located in Brampton, join us to share their thoughts, perspectives and best practices relating to the topic at hand.
Kristi mentioned that the reality of today’s topic is that the struggle to find talent is real.
She spoke about the need to find a competitive landscape based on a skilled, committed and engaged workforce. With that criteria in mind, she outlined how they have been working on a Talent Management Strategy that best meets those concepts and embraces the following components:
1. Forecasting supply and demand
When it comes to forecasting supply and demand, they are trying to adapt a strategic approach to understanding both current and projected needs. The first step in that regard is really assessing the employee base including assessing some of the challenges that may need to be addressed (ie. Future retirements, legislative issues, new work requirements, etc.)
2. Attracting great people
The key is understanding what gives their company a competitive advantage for a potential candidate. A few elements mentioned included:
- Flexibility - remote, working offices, multiple shifts
- Culture – dynamic, fun, progressive
- People growing up through the company
- Family understanding
Similarly, understanding possible challenges a prospective employee might encounter also needs to be considered (ie. Transportation, Physical Environment).
3. Retaining great people
Our Speaker underscored the importance of fostering a strong culture and that retention is all about knowing your people and she shared a quotation that emphasized the importance of those concepts:
“Train people well enough so they can leave - Treat them well enough so they don’t want to”
- Richard Branson
She mentioned that their top three aspects of job-based importance includes:
· Good relationships
· Work-life balance (work life integration)
Kristi also outlined some of the challenges they face when it comes to retention:
· Location – bus lines, route timing
· Employee branding
· Physical environment (to help with this they show videos during interview, offer plant tours, and discuss animal welfare)
· Engaging newly hired employees – relationship building piece
· Standardizing and updating their compensation and benefits scheme
4. Educating and upskilling people
Maple Lodge Farms believes in educating and upskilling their people. A diverse workforce and multiple shifts cause some challenges. From a Management Talent Strategy perspective, educating and upskilling can only create a win-win scenario. So far Maple Lodge Farms has:
· Created a leadership development program that goes from top down
· Provided a “Phenomenal stop-gap” for EMC online programs
· Embraced opportunities provided through the Ontario Job Grant
With a clear understanding of the benefits and challenges faced from an attraction and retention standpoint, the Team at Maple Lodge Farms was able to develop a strategy to improve talent acquisition – and in the spirit of continuous improvement, embraces the opportunity to continue to look at new means in which they can enhance their programs to attract and retain the best talent. Their toolbox in this regard includes elements such as:
+ A talent acquisition process
+ Diversify sourcing challenges
+ Elevate selection process
+ Introduce talent assessment tools
+ Raise employer branding
+ Initiate management training programs
Kristi did an excellent job of sharing their organization’s goals with respect to our topic at hand and many of the companies in attendance echoed the feeling that they could identify with some of the challenges faced and were eager to gain further insight on some potential means in which to build stronger attraction and retention processes.
|Griffith Foods (www.griffithfoods.com): |
-Joyce Ballou, Sr. Director, Human Resources
Griffith Foods is a global developer and manufacturer of customized food ingredient systems and their Canadian operation recently received recognition as a Greater Toronto Top Employer – a wonderful honour – and we were pleased to have Joyce Ballou, Sr. Director, Human Resources, share their journey of achievement.
Joyce mentioned that their business purpose states “We blend care and creativity to nourish the world”. Founded in 1929 in Scarborough, they now employ 3500 people globally in 23 countries. Their clients range from processors, retailers, distributors and foodservice.
They are very proud to have won the 2017 Greater Toronto Top Employer Award stemming from Canada’s Top 100 Employers program which was established to honour employers who have created exceptional workplaces for their employees. Once selections are made, winners are announced in a special edition of the Globe and Mail. In addition to this year’s Award selection, for the past two years, Griffith Foods has also received awards for being one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. Joyce mentioned that when a company applies for these programs, other award opportunities can become available.
To engage in an Employer of Choice Program, a company must have their Head Office or principal place of business in Canada and size or sector is not an issue. Any employer can apply. The Application is rather detailed and focuses on your business and your workforce. There are essentially eight criteria which you build upon with overviews, examples and supporting documentation.
Joyce’s presentation outlined the program expectations/requirements and set out examples in which Griffith Foods met the criteria for each element.
1. Your Business
2. Your Workforce
3. Health Benefits
4. Financial Benefits and Compensation
5. Family Friendly Policies
6. Programs for Experienced Workers
7. Employee Engagement
8. Training and Skills Development
9. Vacation and Time Off
10. Community Involvement
These types of award programs are looking for employers with progressive plans in place. Griffith Foods was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Greater Toronto Top Employer Award based on three elements:
· Maternity leave top-up payments
· Ongoing employee education with tuition subsidies and an academic scholarship program
· Individual and peer-nominated awards (ie. Fresh Ideas Award for Innovative ideas)
Joyce finished her presentation by asking why might companies and manufacturers in particular might engage in a program of this nature? She shared the top three reasons why Griffith Foods embraced this opportunity:
· Positively enhances company brand
· Attraction and recruitment of top talent
· Retention and pride of current employees
Our Speaker provided an excellent overview of the intricacies and benefits of exploring Employer Programs of Choice and offered to connect with anyone interested in learning more about their experiences in this regard.
On behalf of EMC and all of our Members and Guests, congratulations to the Team at Griffith Foods on being a 2017 GTA Employer of Choice - such a wonderful achievement!!
|CPG Executive Search (www.cpgexec.com):|
–Justin Pintwala, Partner
Adding to our discussion relating to Attraction and Retention, Justin Pintwala, Partner for CPG Executive Search provided some brief thoughts regarding “Talent through Growth”.
He spoke about the development of “invoking the development of authentic pride” and reviewed the necessity to create a culture of engagement within our facilities. He challenged us to consider what people will get up and go to work for including the need to care, feel good at what they do, and the need to give to others.
|FBO - Food Beverage Ontario (www.tasteyourfuture.ca): |
-Isabel Dopta, Director of Communications
Our final Presenter for the afternoon was Isabel Dopta, Director of Communications for FBO (Food Beverage Ontario) who together with a number of complimentary Sector Organizations, Government Representative and Manufacturers are diligently sharing information and insight on the wide breadth of career opportunities available in the Food and Beverage Industry.
The goal of the Taste Your Future Campaign is to raise awareness of employment opportunities in the Sector and to look at the creation of 60,000 new jobs by 2020. Through diligent marketing campaigns and out reach, Taste Your Future has connected with young people, parents, newcomers, educators and Processors. They have had over 20,000 web site visits and millions of media impressions.
After highlighting the great strides made through the Taste Your Future Campaign, Isabel challenged the Processors, Community Partners and Educators present to share the opportunities in this regard. Please logon and follow this awesome initiative:
We look forward to addressing this topic again in the future and we extend very special thanks to our Host for such a warm welcome, our Guest Presenters from the City of Brampton, Manufacturing GPS and Essential Skills Program, Maple Lodge Farms, Griffith Foods, CPG Executive Search and FBO (Food Beverage Ontario) for lending their insight, expertise and experiences to all of those in attendance!
All the best as always!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - email@example.com - 519-372-6009