Cheese Reporter Featuring Pino-Gallagher: Employees, One of Your Best Risk Management Tools

Employee Benefits, Food & Agribusiness, Risk, War For Talent

M3’s Jen Pino-Gallagher is featured in the Cheese Reporter as a guest columnist to share how employees are truly one of your best risk management tools and how to leverage your insurance broker.

There is no shortage of staffing shortages in dairy processing plants around the country. A survey conducted by the Dairy Food Safety Alliance with dairy sanitation inspectors from the Midwest and New Mexico revealed these shortages are not merely causing workforce gaps but are also leading to food safety violations.

  • Plant cleanliness;
  • Construction & repair of equipment;
  • Protection from contamination; and
  • Sanitation of containers and equipment.

More often than not, the root cause of the infractions were employees – either the lack of employees (labor shortages) or lack of training for new employees. Even dairy processing plants that appeared fully staffed lacked employee training, which directly impacts food safety practices. Being fully staffed doesn’t necessarily mean “fully skilled”.

According to the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, some of the approaches processors have taken include:

  • Increasing investments in automation, both as a workaround to the ongoing labor shortage and to improve their workers’ experiences and their plants’ overall productivity.
  • Devoting more resources to effective training programs and accessing training opportunities through vendor partners.

Engaging with Your Employee Benefits Broker

Human resources teams looking to find support in recruiting and retaining team members can consider a sometimes overlooked source of help – their employee benefits broker. While this may not be the first approach that comes to mind, there is value in engaging with the company’s employee benefits broker and including the broker as part of the recruitment and retention team. A benefits broker can be a partner in strategizing how to recruit, retain, and engage talent. From a recruitment perspective, questions to ask a broker in order to engage their services might include:

  1. How do our benefits compare to similar organizations? Are we competitive in the marketplace?
  2. What unique benefits exist that might help us attract and retain multi-generational team members?
  3. Are their resources outside the insurance realm such as grants, non-profit organizations and training resources that can enhance our workforce development efforts?

No simple solution exists to resolving the labor challenge. By taking a team approach and combining the input from food safety, human resources and the benefits broker, the dairy processor increases the likelihood of winning the war for talent.

— Jen Pino-Gallagher
Director of Food & Agribusiness Practice | M3 Insurance

Cheese Reporter is a weekly trade newspaper focusing on the production of cheese, butter, cultured milk, and fluid milk industries. Coverage includes prices and markets, legislative and regulatory issues, import and export analysis, dairy product contests, company features, new products, and much more.

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