A Good Place to Grow – Sanderson Farms Furthers Company Growth By Investing in Employees

It is no wonder Sanderson Farms was recently voted one of Forbes magazine’s 2019 America’s Best Employers. The company, known for cultivating internal growth through its substantial leadership programs, has consistently proven that employee training is an investment that pays for itself. According to a 2018 Korn Ferry poll, the number one reason employees seek a new line of work is not because of their paycheck, but because they are bored in their current job. This finding may be new to some companies – but not to Sanderson Farms. For decades now, the company’s Corporate Mentoring Program and Corporate Training Program have been in place to prepare Sanderson Farms’ next generation of leaders for the business’s future.

“At Sanderson Farms, one of our unique characteristics is that we love to promote from within,” said Stacy Webb, Sanderson Farms Manager of Training. “With that decision comes a tremendous responsibility to manage the growth and development of our people, and that is why our leadership programs were established.”

Sanderson Farms’ Corporate Mentoring Program gives employees the opportunity to receive instruction and hands-on experience in the various operations of the company. During the 12-month program, participants are guided by experts in all departments, as they practice skills in operations with which they may be less familiar. Qualifying candidates are targeted by their managers as hard working and ambitious, and they are issued a questionnaire to assess their personal strengths and interests. The participants are then strategically paired with a mentor in the area of the company most suitable for their professional growth.  Each month, the mentees observe the many functions of the company – from live production to processing – and develop skills that will better qualify them for future advancement. Most importantly, those who take part in the Corporate Mentoring Program usually maintain relationships with their mentors well beyond their year-long commitment.

“If we are going to develop leaders, then we must first ensure that they know the day-to-day environments of those whom they lead,” said Webb. “This wide spectrum of education and training has proven beneficial, as it gives employees hands-on experience and the opportunity to see how operations within the company work together.”

Distinctive from the Mentoring Program is Sanderson Farms’ Corporate Trainee Program, which is exclusive to college graduates. Designed to craft the company’s future administrators, the Trainee Program places new recruits into both Sanderson Farms’ live production and processing facilities on a monthly basis, as well as requires leadership courses and special assignments to be completed during their time as trainees. These participants, who have displayed readiness for leadership within the company and perform well as trainees, often go on to become program trainers and mentors themselves.

“To me, our greatest success is hiring kids out of college,” said Webb. “They are smart, talented, well-rounded, and diverse – exactly what we want the future of this company to look like.”

Currently the third largest poultry producer in America, Sanderson Farms continues to stand by these long-running corporate growth strategies, constantly offering opportunities for employees to feel valued by their company and purposeful in their work.

“It is truly unique that a lot of people who come to this company don’t tend to leave,” said Maci Maness, Sanderson Farms Financial Analyst. “When I began my career at Sanderson Farms in 2013, I quickly rose through the ranks in the Accounting department due to the exceptional training offered.”

Today’s employees are looking to find and keep jobs that offer something more than just stable income. Employees that feel valued and engaged in their vocational roles have proven to display commitment and ambition, knowing that they are working towards a higher goal. Consequently, it is crucial that a company be known as a good place to grow if it is to truly thrive.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect participants in our training programs to hold management-type roles five years later and to perform well,” said Webb. “These accomplishments don’t easily happen without programs in place to help develop and encourage people.”

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