02 Mar 2022
by Meat Business Women

Recruiting and retaining (female) talent in the meat industry: what we’ve learnt this month

Recruitment and retention of employees is well and truly on the minds of everyone in the meat industry right now.

This month, we’ve heard from three recruitment and talent experts on that very topic:

Kirsty Lewis, Founder of the School of Facilitation, Kate Gerald, Founder of KAG Recruitment and Jayne Mizon, Head of Learning and Development at Kepak certainly know a thing or two about attracting and retaining star employees.

So, following their masterclasses, we’ve rounded up their top takeaways on recruiting, retaining and developing the best (female) talent in the meat industry.

Your ‘EPV’ is super important to candidates

That’s your ‘Employee Value Proposition’, or in other words why should people want to work for you as opposed to another organisation? What differentiates you from your competitors?

Kate Gerald, KAG Recruitment says: “You need to be able to share the EVP with people who come into the interview. It is something that the candidate market is asking now. What can you offer? What can their career path look like?

They want to see what the people look like who have previously worked in that role and hear about previous success stories – talk to them about these success stories. People are often nervous to talk about the person who left the role previously and shouldn’t be!”

In a candidate’s market, be sure that you are clear on your EVP and communicate it clearly to the interviewee so that they know why they should choose to work for you when they may have a number of other job offers on the table.

Consider Insights or psychometric testing for recruitment

If you’ve heard of the terms ‘earth green’, ‘cool blue’ ‘fiery red’ or ‘sunshine yellow’ when describing a colleague, you may already know about Insights or psychometric testing. Using these tests are a great way of ensuring that you have a balanced team in terms of soft skills.

Kate explains: “Have you ever got to the stage where you’ve got two candidates and you can’t decide who you want to take on? You might have someone who’s very industry related and you might have someone who comes across well comes across in terms of your core values and what you stand for as a business. We would always suggest doing psychometric testing where you can to help you decide.

As a business you should always assess where your skill set lies in the current team. We would always recommend looking at where those gaps are and assessing that balance. Too often people look at just what the industry skill set is.”

Ensure that your team has a balance of colours, in other words, soft skills so that everyone can utilise their own strengths to ‘plug’ any gaps within the team.

Make sure you are supporting your team

A common worry for women working in the meat industry is being able to return to their job after parental leave and still develop their career after having a family.

Jayne Mizon, Head of L & D at Kepak stresses the importance of communication from individual and from the organisation: “Set some goals. Ask your manager what does good look like for me before I go on maternity leave and ask what do you want me to deliver? I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t capable of delivering because I was pregnant so I had a 20 week plan with a milestone for each week of what I wanted to deliver before I finished. That was really good for me as it made me more direct. I wanted to go on mat leave knowing that I’d delivered the best I could and I was leaving on a high.”

Ensure that you have these conversations with your team in good time and that they understand what’s expected of them if they are planning a family. Honest communication and knowing what’s expected from both parties is so important when it comes to retaining your best employees.

Ensure that you have male allies in your organisation

Companies who have culturally diverse teams have been proven to be more profitable and we know the importance of striving for gender balance at every level in the meat industry.

But before this can happen, you need everyone in an organisation to understand this and drive the message so that female staff can thrive at every level in your organisation.

That’s why we need to engage men in our conversations too. Kirsty Lewis’ masterclass threw up a number of ideas for making this possible.

Develop a male steering group to help spread the word about Meat Business Women and the importance of retaining female talent in your organisation.

If we only speak to women, we alienate the majority of our team members and exclude them from the conversation, so ensure that they understand the importance of nourishing female talent too and can help input their ideas.

Encourage men to share their thoughts or experiences too – perhaps they’ve experienced shared parental leave or want to share their story about the women that have helped them get to their current role.

Make sure that you also role model men who are ‘allies’ and who champion female employees.


Watch back Kate’s Masterclass on Finding your perfect tribe’ here

Watch back Jayne’s masterclass in ‘Returning to work after parental leave’ here

Download the shared resources from Kirsty’s masterclass ‘How to attract retain and develop female talent in the meat industry’ here

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