Refining the Retail Agriculture Workplace
Apr 09, 2022
The current labor shortage is undoubtedly one of the most unique and challenging we’ve ever experienced. While the labor shortage remains a significant headwind, I believe UFC’s workplace culture is unique, progressive, and innovative and will serve us well as we work to attract new, qualified employees and retain the outstanding individuals we currently employ. What makes UFC’s culture unique, and why should anyone consider joining our team? Read on to learn more.
Compared to most area businesses and specifically agricultural retailers, UFC has a highly progressive and youthful leadership style. This makes our organizational culture incredibly unique considering we have a balanced mix of veteran employees who have been with us for 20+ years, and others who are just setting out in their careers. What does this mean? Regardless of age or professional experience, through the years the UFC culture has embraced cultural change and evolved resulting in a modern and up-to-date workplace that appeals to all ages of the workforce. For example, long before the pandemic hit most UFC employees had the option to work remotely when needed or adjust schedules to accommodate their needs. For most other cooperatives, it took a global pandemic to force this workplace change.
The cooperative system has been around for decades. Unfortunately, in many cases the “it’s always been this way” attitude has been around for just as long, restricting growth and opportunity. There was a day when UFC was part of this trap. Today, I can proudly say this is something all UFC team members, from the board of directors to front line employees, have worked hard to deconstruct. In the past three years, we’ve undergone a tremendous financial and cultural transformation. We’ve made improvements that have resulted in strong financial gains allowing us to reinvest in state-of-the- art technology, systems and infrastructure. Combined, these investments have made our facilities safer and more efficient for employees and patrons. New technology and systems have also made it possible for our employees to stay connected with their team members, work securely from home, and communicate in a timely manner. While competitive pay and benefits are important to employees, a study done by Gallup in October 2021 showed 91% of employees desire some type of remote work option and we feel this is something that can’t be ignored.
Employees who have a strong work-life balance tend to be less stressed, more motivated and overall, more productive in their roles. Not only does a healthy work- life balance have immediate, positive effects for an organization and its employees, it can have long term benefits in terms of talent retention. While our business is subject to extreme seasonality - UFC still promotes a healthy work-life balance with employees at all levels. Our employees are our biggest asset and taking care of them is our priority. In today’s society where instant connectivity and communication are common practices, it can be difficult to disconnect and separate work from personal time. However, promoting a healthy work-life balance is something UFC strongly encourages. Whether needing to take time off to take care of a sick family member, or leaving work early to attend a child’s event, we encourage our employees to be present for their families!
We take pride in building and developing a team from within, but we also recognize the need to introduce new thoughts and ideas from outside the company to ensure we are positioning UFC for future success. If you or someone you know is passionate about agriculture, has a great work ethic and wants to have fun, please send them our way! We have several career opportunities available with outstanding benefits.
-Mitch Altermatt, CEO & General Manager