We succeed as a company by recruiting the best talent — and creating a welcoming and rewarding place to work.
We’re a company built on faith, family, hard work and a tradition of doing what’s right. Maintaining a culture that reflects our core values is an ongoing task as we acquire new companies and grow our business. Our team members play a key role in helping us stay true to these values. We support them by making sure they have the tools and resources they need to be successful and by establishing transparent, two-way communication with new and current employees.
About Our Workforce
The majority of our 141,000-person-strong global workforce is hourly and works in our U.S. chicken, beef, pork and prepared foods production facilities. This diverse group of team members is comprised of many immigrants to the U.S. The remainder of our U.S. team members—almost 13,000—are salaried and primarily work in plant management support and corporate positions. In FY2019, the percentage of our international team members increased to 14% from 4% in FY2018, primarily due to our acquisition of the Thai and European operations of Brazilian food processor BRF S.A.
We have made progress on programs to better support hourly team members in the areas of workplace training, safety, compensation and benefits, and life skills. To measure progress against these initiatives, we are working toward three workplace goals, all of which are ongoing, year-over-year goals. We are proud to report that in FY2019 we reduced Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incidents by 15.7% compared with FY2018, exceeding our goal of a 10% reduction year over year. This keeps us below the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average for food manufacturing for the second consecutive year. Read more in Health & Safety.
Our second goal is to achieve a 10% increase in employee retention. In FY2019, our retention rate was 64.6%, an increase of 5.42% from FY2018. Although we fell short of our goal, the increase is a reversal from FY2018 when we experienced a decrease over FY2017. We continued to face challenges from wage pressures and the lowest unemployment rates the U.S. has experienced in decades, which made it difficult to stabilize our workforce and achieve the desired level of improvement in retention. Nonetheless, the positive trend in FY2019 and in the first quarter of FY2020 has emerged as a result of our focus on becoming an employer of choice and investing in team members. This has led to improvements in wages, work schedules, facilities, recognition, engagement and, subsequently, operational efficiency, safety and well-being.
We are keeping team members safer than ever as a result of proactive measures to promote a culture of safety and caring in our plants. We are evaluating specific departments within plants that generate the most instability to determine if they are candidates for process improvement. Practices like these have made Tyson Foods the employer of choice in numerous labor markets and have improved our performance in several industry benchmarks.
We also continue to strengthen our communications at all levels of the organization to eliminate unsafe behaviors and conditions. The engagement of hourly team members is a vital part of this process. A primary communication vehicle is our We Care platform, which we continued to roll out and invest in during FY2019. To support this program, we introduced our first certified Exposure Reduction Coaches. Across all business units, we continue to execute a a “span of control” project that involves hiring additional production supervisors to help drive improvements in safety, retention and performance.
A third goal is to enable hourly employees to access English as a second language training and extend financial literacy training to all employees. Enhancing both of these life skills will help employees integrate into their communities and position them to realize their full potential. In FY2019, we expanded our language and life skills program, known as Upward Academy, to 56 Tyson Foods locations, with plans to eventually make it available to all team members. Read more about Upward Academy.
In FY2019, approximately 34,000 employees in the U.S. were subject to collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions, with approximately 11% of those employees at locations either under negotiation for contract renewal or included under agreements expiring in FY2020. The remaining agreements expire over the next several years. Approximately 5,000 employees in foreign countries were subject to collective bargaining agreements. We continue to collaborate with Oxfam America and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) as we implement and evolve these workplace enhancements. UFCW holds 22 labor contracts with us that represent nearly 30,000 workers. We believe overall relations with our workforce are positive.
A comprehensive talent strategy is increasingly becoming essential in the workplace. Our talent strategy is focused on attracting the best talent—recognizing and rewarding their performance, while developing and retaining them. In FY2019, we focused on team member experience, removing barriers to engagement, further modernizing the human relations process, focusing on hourly team member retention and accelerating the impact of best-in-class talent practices. This included launching an enterprise engagement platform that has allowed 11,000 team members to share feedback with the company, which we then used to assess progress. Three talent objectives support our “grow, deliver, sustain” strategy:
Zero Talent “Outages”: We strive to grow and develop the different capabilities and skills that we need for the future. This includes focusing on current workforce development and recruiting new team members with the skills needed for future business growth.
Succession Planning versus Replacement: We strive to maintain a robust pipeline of talent, actively developing our current team members throughout the organization and engaging with potential team members externally so that we have a strong talent pool to pull from when movement happens.
Be a Talent Magnet: Our goal is to be the employer of choice within our markets and peer groups.
Within Tyson Foods’ Talent, Inclusion & Culture function, the talent acquisition team equips and enables our businesses to hire talent that solves future business challenges through standardization, talent strategy and engagement. The team focuses on development of talent sourcing strategies that identify best-in-class target industries, companies and schools to acquire desired capabilities. In FY2019, our talent acquisition team worked consistently to advance our employment brand through efforts like updating our career site to ensure candidates and potential candidates understand Tyson Foods’ culture and have visibility into corporate and field career opportunities.
Our recruitment efforts also aim to build a diverse organization that brings experiences and backgrounds as diverse as the consumer marketplace we serve. To this end, we actively engage in military, LGBTQ, college and other diversity recruiting efforts. To improve access to a diverse talent pool, our talent acquisition team has partnered with the National Urban League, a nonpartisan historic civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans and against racial discrimination in the U.S., to provide monthly Tyson Foods-sponsored webinars highlighting our careers, Tyson Foods guest speakers who discuss career development and one-on-one virtual conversations with potential candidates.
To move the needle on succession planning, we have created a new talent mapping process that begins with the team member’s perspective on career aspirations and focuses on investing in the development of a team member to build a more robust pipeline of talent. In FY2019, leaders within functions across the organization utilized the talent mapping process, focusing on motivation, adaptability and performance. Leaders’ experience with mapping also gave them greater visibility into our pool of exceptional talent. We have had conversations with and collaborated on the placement of over 2,500 team members into positions better aligned with their career aspirations and goals. We also completed and reviewed succession plans for 100 top-level leadership positions, including many critical roles across the enterprise. We review these plans regularly and update them as necessary.
Team Member Onboarding
Through recent acquisitions, Tyson Foods welcomed more than 18,000 team members to our family in FY2019. Utilizing a standard onboarding process, we are steadily uniting these new team members in Europe, Asia-Pacific, China and Korea into our business as one Tyson. This approach includes project leads who act as communication liaisons and help scale and resolve issues, as well as onboarding templates and documentation. Integration of new businesses and support of new team members, particularly in these new regions, will continue as we grow the business and expand our presence in the U.S. and internationally.
Team Member Training
Tyson Foods operates state-of-the-art equipment. We train our team members in the latest research and techniques to ensure they have the knowledge and practical experience to use that equipment optimally. This training philosophy extends to all areas of our operations, including management and leadership.
Maintenance skills are essential elements of ensuring efficient manufacturing of protein-centric products, and Tyson Foods has created a new training path for those interested in an industrial maintenance career. In FY2019, we developed maintenance and refrigeration technical school partnerships with 60 technical schools and growing. We have developed a two-year curriculum that focuses on troubleshooting, repairing and maintaining equipment in a safe environment. These partnerships will help us recruit skilled external candidates as well as upskill our internal talent. Through this program, Tyson Foods is not only offering educational assistance through the curriculum, internships, apprenticeships and tuition assistance, but also making in-kind donations to partnering schools through equipment and cash donations.
We also launched the NEXT Differentiated Development program, an agile development opportunity in which selected leaders across the enterprise participate in developmental and immersive near-future business scenario simulations and provide strategies for leading through them. All Tyson Foods team members with access to our company intranet can use an online learning library that offers more than 2,000 learning resources, such as articles, videos, training workbooks and expert interview podcasts on topics such as leadership, stress management, strategy and communication. We also offer comprehensive training programs for plant leaders at all levels. These include:
Complex Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP): A leadership development program that culminates in a presentation to senior leadership. Participants are asked to consider what changes they can make in their plants, as well as other changes they could make in their personal and professional lives.
Operations Leader Boot Camp: A program that includes leadership training, Lean training and in-plant application of lessons learned.
Supervisor Boot Camp: A combination of leadership and hands-on training within our plants and live operations. This program now includes emotional intelligence leadership training and a waste-elimination project that leads to substantial cost savings each year.
Health and Safety and Continuous Improvement Teams: Leaders from these teams have developed a standardized model for delivering plant-safety leadership training through a productivity system developed by our Continuous Improvement team. These training sessions include structured daily requirements within a production system that enables plant leaders to better monitor and manage the daily expected takeaways from our safety We Care program.
Maintenance Leads and Supervisors: Building upon our new maintenance and refrigeration technical school partnerships, Tyson Foods offers online DuPont leadership courses to Maintenance Leads and Supervisors. The maintenance training team also travels to locations to facilitate skills for electrical, automation, boilers, compressed air systems and refrigeration.
Tyson Foods supports team members who want to pursue advanced or bachelor’s degrees related to their position while remaining employed. In FY2019, approximately 500 team members were pursuing higher education in areas such as food science, food safety and poultry science. In total, we contributed over $970,000 to educational assistance in FY2019.
Faith in the Workplace
Tyson’s culture is what we call “faith-friendly.” Many team members come to work with a set of beliefs about themselves, their world and how they should live in it. Our team members’ beliefs matter, and their respectful expressions are welcomed. Tyson’s chaplaincy program makes dedicated chaplains available at our plants to listen, offer support and talk to team members about daily life.
2000 Year established
98+ Dedicated chaplains
38 Faith traditions represented
#2 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Index
Top 100 Faith-Friendly Workplace