President’s Corner

By Fawad S. Shah, MCIA President/CEO

MCIA President/CEO Fawad Shah

The late Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, once wrote that, “Any company trying to compete with competitors should figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee.” Without a doubt, employees are valuable assets of an organization and the key to its success.

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association is a relatively small employer. Currently, we have twenty well-trained, skilled staff members. Due to retirements as well as some staff members who have sought opportunities outside MCIA, employee recruitment and retention has been front and center for management. Over the last year, four employees have departed from three departments: Field Services, Seed Laboratory Services, and Organic Services. While losing an experienced employee is a setback for the organization, it creates an opportunity to assess the scope of the vacant position, and to re-think and retool the position to meet growth and customer expectations.

Recruitment and retention cannot be separated from an organization’s ability to offer competitive compensation. In recent months, heightened inflation has put more pressure on employers to think ‘outside the box’ when formulating wage and benefit packages to attract new employees and retain existing ones. The cost-of-living increase is an interesting phenomenon in that it increases an employee’s salary, but often the actual cost of living is more than the increase.

The MCIA Board of Directors has worked closely with its senior management to address the effect of inflation and the organization’s ability to recruit and retain staff. The Board decided to go beyond the routine cost-of-living increase and approved staff bonuses based on the overall financial performance of the organization. This generous decision not only improved staff morale, but also better positioned the organization to address the challenges of recruitment and retention.