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AFIA Program Focuses on How to Create an Engaged Workforce

Wayne Farms' HR manager shares tips for increasing productivity through company culture

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Michelle Swofford, human resources manager for Wayne Farms, delivered an address during the American Feed Industry Association's Feed Production Education Program called Creating the Right Employee Culture in Your Plant.

The session focused on how to foster engaged employees vs. satisfied employees. "Engagement and satisfaction are not the same," Swofford began.

Satisfied employees report to work consistently but their main reason for working is to draw a paycheck, whereas engaged employees are motivated and are looking for more to accomplish, according to Swofford.

Swoffford suggests companies seeking to create a more engaged workforce should start by completing an engagement survey. An initial survey serves as a benchmark of current employee engagement and should measure your employees' leadership aspirations, stress/workload balance, goals and objectives, and other qualities.

Why is it important to benchmark and increase a company's workforce engagement? Simply put: "Organizations with an engaged workforce outperform their competition," Swofford stated.

Additionally, studies have shown an 18% increase in productivity with engaged employees, 12% higher customer advocacy and three times higher operating margins, while engaged employees are 50% more likely to stay with the company.

Swofford said helping your employees make an impact is one way to increase engagement and offered several other recommendations for managers:

  • Create a culture in which employees understand how their performance impacts the business and their feedback is used to drive continuous improvements
  • Achieve better operational results by engaging employees in improvement discussions
  • Maintain constant communication
  • Provide them with opportunities to advance their careers
  • Recognize their efforts and achievements
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