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Developing Young Teams

Last time, I talked about why some companies are concerned about trying to develop young teams.

This time, I’m going to highlight someone in the swine industry who is doing a great job in developing young teams.

.Springer Family Foods.

Springer Family Foods (SFF) is a multi-generation family farm near Independence, Kansas. They’ve been in business for more than 50 years raising pigs.

Michael Springer is the family member who currently manages the swine operation. His grandfather started it years ago, then his father managed it, and now he manages it. His grandfather, father, and uncle are still involved in the operation, but their labor force has changed a lot since the operation was first started those 50+ years ago.

.Young Teams and Crossing Cultures .

Like many Ag businesses, labor and talent availability changed through the years. Quality local talent wasn’t always available anymore. The talent that was available both domestically and internationally had many other ‘options’ – they could easily leave and go somewhere else.

Michael and his team decided to adapt and change along with the conditions of the labor and talent markets.

.Changing Conditions .

For the first time, SFF looked ‘internationally’ for talent. That didn’t mean they didn’t hire locally – they still did that.

But…it meant that most of the talent they brought in…whether it was domestically or internationally was younger and less experienced on the farm.

.Inexperienced - is that a bad thing? .

When I (Brent) managed teams in the ag industry, lack of experience never bothered me. I wanted a good attitude and a willingness to learn. Many of the folks that SFF brought in showed these 2 qualities.

To ‘invest’ in the young team long-term, SFF developed a ‘New Hire Training Program’. This helped them to develop the skills they needed and it helped to develop the camaraderie and friendships between the different people. It also helps to bridge the communication gaps between people from other countries and the US.

.Very positive results .

For the first time in several years, SFF is ‘fully staffed’. Life isn’t perfect – Michael would still call it a ‘work in progress’, but the SFF efforts to invest in their young team have been very successful.

It’s actually freed up some of his longer-term team members (such as Mark in the picture below) to be training, teaching, and mentoring the young teams instead of ‘doing’ all the hands-on work.

It also helps his team to recognize some specific or special skills that people have. One example is Tim (in the picture) who has good experience working with pigs and can do maintenance). Tim really excels with maintenance projects and is very good with training and managing others with these types of projects.

.Wrapping up .

A big ‘Thank You!’ to Springer Family Foods for letting us highlight them in this letter. They are great folks to work with. We appreciate the opportunity to work with them alongside our partners TCTS Global in their training and staffing needs.


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