FTR Challenge: When the Facts Corroborate the Words

by Bruno Langlois

Interesting how certain words used in a particular context have the ability to make us think. That’s exactly what happened to me at the Rendez-vous La Coop last September. Try to follow my lead.

Have you heard about the FTR Challenge “Find, Train and Retain!” Every sector of economic activity is actively involved. The media regularly provides updates on this topic. For example, in early September Radio-Canada Témiscamingue reported that the McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Val-d’Or had to temporarily close its doors for lack of employees. Who would have thought that McDonald’s would one day run short of students to fill its work shifts?

This harsh reality has undoubtedly affected cattle farming. How can it adapt or at least prepare for it while maintaining an operating margin?

The first thing that comes to mind in terms of recruitment is to “switch territory.” If we are to believe the increasing number of foreign workers on large scale cattle farms today, this seems to be the way a lot of companies are going. It may be an efficient short-term solution, but it’s not as easy as it seems.

Another way is to develop employee loyalty through salary and benefits, which usually produces positive effects in the medium term. Easier said than done in this industry, particularly taking into consideration that the key benefit being sought by employees, beyond a good salary, is a regular work schedule that allows for a balanced work and family life! But not easy doesn’t mean impossible.

As for a long-term solution, the Senior Vice-President Innovation with Premier Tech, Pierre Talbot made a proposal during the abovementioned conference that was on point: “Our business has over 3,800 team members who are proud to work here.”

So how did this company convert its employees into team members? According to Pierre Talbot, it was through innovation; increasing how employees perceived their value. Beyond salary and other benefits, team members appreciate having their work and skills acknowledged and being involved in certain decision processes.

This is the kind of strategy applied by the highly rated employer Deschambault, an aluminum smelter; that recently spoke of a management model based on an inverted pyramid: Goals are set by the employer and the means to attain them are set by employees (team members). Quality and efficiency, creativity and ingenuity, initiative and autonomy, communication, flexibility and adaptation all constitute values espoused by management and employees. Interesting, and perhaps easier to implement than what we imagine.

Above all else, team members like playing for a winning team!

What About La Coop?

If you had the opportunity to view On récolte ce qu’on aime clips, you probably noticed that La Coop fédérée and its affiliated cooperatives are not ordinary suppliers. They want to be business partners and agents of change for their clients. They are proud and happy to declare it.

This is an idea that is particularly dear to your Opti Beef expert consultants. More than that: They also enjoy being considered one of your team’s members, to be able to suggest certain innovative solutions knowing that you will take them into consideration. The goal is to help you reach your objectives and to meet the FTR challenge.

At La Coop, rest assured that we are committed to the facts that corroborate the words. 

Bruno Langlois's picture

Bruno is agronomist and has a passion for beef production. He has extensive experience of almost 30 years in animal production. He is a specialist consultant in beef production at La Coop fédérée.