60 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 “The relationship between employer and employee has changed drastically. How do we balance the pool of talent where we have old, loyal eyes, but also brand- new eyes to drive the business forward? That’s a question many agribusinesses are struggling with.” However, Matissa Hollister, assistant professor of organizational behavior at McGill University, says that while most Americans believe that employment stability has declined in recent decades due to employer tenure, initial studies to document this trend have produced mixed results. Hollister notes that there has been an increase in the proportion of older men who have been in their jobs for less than a year. Meanwhile, short-term employment rates for women have declined. Gunderson suggests that businesses need to look past employee salary and instead look toward accommodating both professional and personal growth for employees to increase retention, espe- cially with the switch in generations. “If you asked a baby boomer to jump, they’d ask ‘how high?’ A Gen Xer will ask ‘why?’” Gunderson says. “Employers need to teach a little differently. New employ- ees are eager for feedback.” Gunderson also notes that agribusi- nesses should look at what their peers are doing — everyone in the industry is strug- gling with this same question. But don’t despair: there are ways to strengthen this bond between employers and employees to increase labor retention. “There has to be a commitment to leadership instead of management,” Gunderson says. “People are committed to a business when they are collective as an organization.” Gunderson recommends that instead of just expecting labor to show up 40 hours a week, leadership should act as their coach: empowering them to make mistakes, letting them know that they can do it and showing that they’ll progress in the business. This not only encourages employees to do better at their jobs, but it builds a better relationship between an employee and their leadership. Even though labor is something that the entire U.S. is concerned about and grap- pling with how to move into the future, Gunderson emphasizes that this isn’t just our problem: it’s a global problem. “Globally, all agribusinesses are strug- gling with labor issues,” he says. “The challenges are different depending on the country. For example, in China, the rural population might be illiterate, which is a challenge. The U.S., however, is struggling to deal with succession planning.” Businesses all over the globe are deal- ing with similar problems — how to fill gaps in their businesses, how to maintain relationships with employees to increase retention and how to structure their busi- ness so that it’s optimal for their labor. Labor is and will continue to be a univer- sal difficulty, but businesses are gearing up to face the challenge. SW