It is no secret that the U.S. poultry industry is facing a shortage of workers, but maybe O.K. Foods has discovered a way to make working at poultry processing facilities more appealing.
Just two months ago, at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), Mike Donohue, vice president of Agri Stats, showed a slide that revealed that the weekly turnover rates for poultry plant jobs are increasing. For first processing positions the weekly turnover rate is around 1.6 percent, up from the previous year, and for further processing positions, the turnover rate is closing in on 2 percent, which is the highest it has been in a decade.
And in an effort to deal with that worker shortage, the broiler industry’s average wage without benefits is closing in on $16 per hour, more than double the rate of pay from the mid-1990s.
But that still may not be enough to find and keep employees, so poultry companies need to get creative in the ways they conduct recruitment and retention initiatives.
O.K. Foods, a subsidiary of Industrias Bachoco and the 16th largest broiler company in the United States, found a very creative way to let a couple of workers know their hard work and dedicated was appreciated.
According to a report from 5 News Online, the O.K. Foods facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas, gave away a car to two employees with a perfect attendance during the first quarter of 2019. The two winners were randomly selected, and both vehicles were Buick models.
One company spokeswoman said this was the first time in her 28 years with the company’s Fort Smith facility that such prizes were given away.
However, it was alluded to that more cars could be expected to be offered as rewards in the future. If done in the same drawing format, it seems that would be a great additional incentive to keep showing up for work every day.
I guess you could call that an effort to “drive” up productivity at O.K. Foods.