PoultryUSA - August 2018 - 12
12 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
leave or stay
A U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
survey examined the reasoning
behind poultry employees'
decisions and how companies are
working to improve their retention.
High turnover rates
According to the survey, the average annual poultry
employee turnover rate is 65 percent. Some locations said
turnover was as low as 3.4 percent while others said it was
as high as 150 percent. Comparatively, the national annual turnover rate for all manufacturing is 30.4 percent.
Spencer said when he examined just the poultry
processors, the employee turnover was actually closer
to 100 percent. Respondents said this turnover rate is
affecting their company's ability to operate.
Moreover, 58.1 percent of employees who are leav-
ing are doing so after 90 days or fewer on the job.
Few employees are sticking around much longer: 27.9
percent leave after more than 90 days but less than six
months, and 14 percent leave after 6 months or more.
Motivations varied, but the top reasons for leaving
were the difficulty of the work; cold working conditions; issues with attendance; and long working hours,
including six- to seven-day and 50- to 60-hour weeks.
Secondary and tertiary reasons included lack of transportation to work; lack of desire to keep the job; need
for higher pay; and moving away or out of the country.
Interviews and surveys to improve retention
The survey asked what kind of methods are used
to encourage employees to stay at the company. A
pair of questions centered on the concept of using employee surveys: exit interviews, and what it called stay
interviews and engagement surveys.
Spencer received a variety of responses about exit
interviews. Some interview those resigning with notice, others only interview skilled laborers, while others use outside firms to conduct exit interviews after
resignation. Companies are trying to interview former
employees, but it's not consistent because ex-employees
don't want to be contacted or quit without notice.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ August 2018
US Poultry & Egg Association
Retaining employees is a constant challenge for the
poultry industry, but understanding why they leave
or stay can help companies adjust their personnel approach and improve retention.
Matt Spencer, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's
director of human resources and safety programs, said
the industry group wanted to find a way to track what
strategies companies are using to retain their employees
and how successful they really were. In March 2018,
the group surveyed 40 different locations around the
country. Spencer shared the results on May 10 as part
of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's 2018 Poultry
Processor Workshop in Orange Beach, Alabama.