Human resources professionals must be diligent in remaining up to date on the latest laws and regulations surrounding employment practices. The 2018 USPOULTRY Human Resources Seminar addressed a variety of topics that are impacting human resources professionals in today’s environment. This year’s Seminar was held at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

In addition to regulatory updates, recruitment and retention were also discussed at great length. Corinne Watson, communications manager, and Rae White, talent acquisition manager, from Butterball LLC, shared how the “Art of Storytelling” can play a role in making a company attractive to potential employees. “Everyone has a story. In human resources, we all are story tellers,” remarked White. “As employers, we need to evolve how we tell our company’s stories.”

Matt Spencer, USPOULTRY’s director of HR & safety programs, presented findings from a recently conducted “Why Employees Leave” survey. A panel discussion followed, which included Bobby Barragan, director of HR operations, Tyson Foods; Jennifer Buster, human resources manager, Sanderson Farms; Patrick Townsend, director of human resources, Mountaire Farms; and Matt Spencer. The panel answered questions from the audience regarding programs and strategies they have implemented to improve retention.


Barragan suggested developing a retention plan for each facility that can best fit your company’s needs. “Have management help you create a plan. Look at what needs to be added and removed. Then have all your managers sign it with the intent that they will follow the plan so that everyone is on the same page. Don’t just create the plan and forget it. Use it, and change it as things evolve,” he suggested.

Erin Martin, human resources manager at Tyson Foods, shared best practices on human resources auditing. “If you are conducting an audit, go into it with the mindset that you are there for continuous improvement,” she explained. When looking at your processes, she stressed the importance of consistency, especially when using paper employment applications. Using e-recruitment methods can take some of the errors out of the equation when disqualifying certain job candidates. 

In addition to the speakers and panel, this year’s seminar included time for networking, roundtables for focused topics and opportunities to ask questions of HR law professionals.