JayDee AgTech has a culture of being people focused, whether that’s customers or employees. The executive team has worked to develop a company that attracts and retains good employees.
“When you have a good place to work, employment becomes self-fulfilling — the staff becomes the biggest promoters of the company,” says Duane Smith, CEO/general manager. “Quality people want to stay here and then you start attracting good workers from other dealers, too.”
Developing a productive workforce with a culture of “fun” doesn’t happen overnight. “During the recruiting process you get a feel for the person and if they are going to be a fit, he says.
JayDee AgTech gives back to its employees in numerous ways beyond the paycheck. Here are a few examples:
- The employee handbook is used as a guideline, but each manager has a lot of discretion. If the handbook’s guidelines are not right for a particular instance, managers are allowed to do what’s right.
- Progressive human resource practices, including paid sick leave and the ability to use them for family sick days.
- Managers know their employees. If one has been putting in his time and wants to take off at 3 o’clock because his child has a sports date — they’ll let him or her go without docking pay.
- Loans to staff members. “It’s a tough thing to come and ask your employer for a loan, but I think it also says something that they feel comfortable enough to talk with us,” says Smith. “We don’t mind doing that.”
- Rarely does a major concert or sports event occur in Saskatchewan where employees don’t have an opportunity to draw for tickets that have been purchased by the company. Recent concerts have included Elton John, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones.
- Team building opportunities are common, such as when 10 members of the administrative staff were bussed to a curling event. It addition to the tickets, the company paid for transportation, food and lodging. Activities like this allow employees from various departments to get to know each other personally.
The Christmas party is covered entirely by the company. Employees and their families are transported to Saskatoon where hotel rooms and meals are covered. There’s a children’s Christmas party and one for the adults in the next room. Last year, more than 80% of the staff participated in the Christmas party — in the middle of a snow storm.
The company bought vending machines for several of the dealerships. The staff gets the revenue from it, which they can use to pay for group barbeques or golf tournaments.
“There’s a lot of value in treating employees well. When you work hard to find the right people you need to work just as hard to ensure they stay around,” says Smith. “And then it all comes back to the customer. When we all get along and work together well, the customer is ultimately the benefactor.”