Sanderson Farms, the third largest poultry producer in the United States, has been named one of America’s Best Employers by Forbes magazine. The 2019 America’s Best Employers list ranks the top 500 employers in the U.S. across 25 different industries and markets.
“It is because of the overwhelming support of our employees that we received this honor,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Sanderson Farms. “We owe the success of this company to the leaders, employees, and communities that have worked to build it over the years.”
To assemble the list, Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to conduct an independent and anonymous online survey of 50,000 Americans working at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to friends and family. Statista then asked respondents to nominate organizations in industries outside their own. The final list ranks the 500 large and 500 midsize employers that received the most recommendations.
This is the first time Sanderson Farms has been recognized by Forbes since it began ranking America’s Best Employers in 2015. This is also the first time that a poultry company has made the list.
“It takes a team of dedicated people from diverse disciplines to bring our products to customers’ tables, and we would not be where we are today without their unwavering support,” said Lampkin Butts, chief operating officer and president, Sanderson Farms. “Our employees are our greatest assets. This is reflected in our commitment to employee safety, the wages we pay, the wellness and health care programs we offer, and our 401(k) and retirement benefits.”
Sanderson Farms employs more than 15,000 people from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill sets in its operations across five states and 17 cities. Recognizing that people are its most important resource, the company provides competitive compensation, an inclusive benefits package, and valuable continuing education resources to its employees. In 2018, Sanderson Farms invested more than $4.9 million in employee training and development, and an additional $21.5 million in its Leadership Training Program.
Providing two formal mentoring programs, paid personal and professional development and continuing education reimbursement, it is not surprising that more that 33 percent of Sanderson Farms’ employees have been employed with the company more than five years and more than 18 percent for more than 10 years.
Regularly recognized for its women in leadership positions, diversity is also something Sanderson has made great strides to incorporate across the company. More than 87 percent of its current employees are minorities and more than 46 percent are female. Additionally, of its minority workforce, more than 56 percent sit on management teams.
Sanderson Farms has also invested millions in its employees’ futures, including over $172 million in employee 401(k) plans and $130 million in its employee stock ownership plan.
“It is important to our employees that they know the company they are working for is also invested in their communities. A company is only as successful as the community in which it operates. As a business, we have a responsibility to give back to these communities, our employees and their families.” said Sanderson.
Routinely recognized for its philanthropic efforts, since 2011, the company has donated more than $10.6 million to various charities and $3.6 million in disaster relief. These numbers do not include the more than $8.1 million it has donated from the Sanderson Farms Championship, its premier PGA TOURÒ golf tournament for which it became the title sponsor in 2013 and has committed 100 percent of the proceeds to various charities.
“My grandfather began the business with a focus on hard work, honesty, and family. Sanderson Farms continues to be a family business, and the employees who work here are part of that family,” continued Sanderson. “We have many generations working under this roof for which we are responsible. While the company has grown in size, our commitment to our employees, their families and the community will always be the cornerstone of Sanderson Farms.”