Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) was praised as one of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2018, which really shows their unrelenting commitment to employee happiness and morale. In fact, AFSC has been named as one of the Top Employers for 10 years – not something that many organizations can boast.
We spoke to Karla Kochan, vice president, human resources and communications at AFSC, and speaker at our upcoming HR Leaders Summit in Calgary, who explained how investing in employees is about more than just wages.
“Our values based- culture sums up who we are as an organization,” she told HRD. “Whilst I concede that technical skills are important, we want to ensure that our personal values and our corporate ones are aligned.
“We have a lot of staff who hold professional designations in the industry and work for us – but they’re also farmers. They’re producers – and this extra element is something which keeps our top talent here. We invest a lot into ongoing education, learning and development, both internally and externally. We really do build a fence around our talent in order to keep them engaged and motivated – and eventually promote them into higher positions.”
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation is a Crown Corporation – and they suffer with the same budget issues that other similar Albertan organizations do. However, despite cash flow concerns, Karla reiterated that they refuse to cut back on staff development.
“It would show a lack of investment in our people,” she added. “The fact we’ve been under a wage freeze for the past three years and have still managed to maintain our top people shows how effective our strategy is. We’re still sending employees out to earn degrees which align with their career paths – and we’re happy to fund this.”
Alberta is known as an oil and gas province, but it’s really never going to be what is was. As such, as lot of candidates are wanting to get out of the industry. Because AFSC is a government-owned institution, they exude a sense of security – something which is incredibly attractive to potential new hires.
“When candidates start looking into us, talking to employees are scoping out LinkedIn, it’s very apparent that that investment in our people is key,” continued Karla. “We don’t have a time restriction on this either – we don’t demand that a worker is here for two years before we start investing in them. We want to know from the very beginning what their plan is, their chosen career path and how we can help support them in achieving this.”
Want to hear more on how a value-based culture can improve your talent pool? Karla will be speaking at our upcoming HR Leaders Summit in Calgary – book your ticket here.