In light of the facility’s successful introduction of weekly perception surveys and the “Harvest JBS USA Culture” in 2017, our Ottumwa, Iowa, pork team implemented additional initiatives in 2018 aimed at fostering consistent operational efficiency and team member satisfaction across the plant.
This year, Ottumwa leadership launched a program in which groups of 5-10 newly hired team members are paired with a member of senior management for weekly check-in meetings. During this time, the senior managers serve as mentors to the new hires, listen to their challenges or concerns and more accurately hold their supervisors and superintendents accountable based on the group’s feedback.
Diversity and inclusion are often major topics of discussion within the groups – both of which play a fundamental role in developing a trusting and productive workplace. By encouraging their management team to be more personable with the workforce, Ottumwa leadership hopes that the workforce may in turn become more personable with them. “It’s easy being anonymous. It’s hard to be personal,” notes Ottumwa HR Director Javier Alvarez.
In addition to these weekly new hire meetings, Ottumwa established a Refugee Leadership program in 2018. Led by Maung Hlaing, a Malaysian immigrant himself, the program works to integrate first generation Americans and refugees into the Ottumwa team, support them during the process of a joining a new culture and community and recognize their potential for leadership within the company. Furthermore, Hlaing makes a point to keep team members heavily involved in the community as, on average, 125 people join the area for every 50 new hires at the facility. Maintaining JBS USA Ottumwa’s role as a visible and dedicated community partner is not only the right thing to do, but it cultivates a team member appreciation for the company beyond just a paycheck.
By working to ensure that the facility’s managers and mentors consistently set the right example, JBS USA Ottumwa has developed a stronger, more dedicated workforce.