The Bad Apples

When you are in Human Resources you are in the ‘people’ business.  As a recruiter you work with a wide variety of organizations–so an open mind is key!

With an industry as diverse and complex as Food & Beverage you really can expect anything. But  someone dying on a production line due to company negligence is as shocking as it is unforgivable.

‘The Star’ Undercover Story

Last week I read an article and on so many levels it effected me (and inspired this blog).

Here I am, on a mission to attract people to careers in food and beverage and there–in black and white–is a detailed account of a horrific work environment and disgruntled employees.  The pictures and images show a miserable ‘factory setting’.

Due to a lack of safety procedures and training a young woman lost her life and she isn’t the first.  Clearly there is a problem at this organization and the story should be told so this never happens again.

The article upset me so much.  A young woman lost her life, and it was totally preventable.

I Feel Even More Compelled to Attract Good People to the Food Industry Now

The only press a ‘Food Processing’ plant tends to get is negative.  A food recall or a mouse found in a machine, these stories make headlines.  I guess bad news sells, I mean, any of us could have eaten the salad they found a cockroach in!

Food gets to us emotionally because we all eat and we all feed our loved ones.

Based on what you see / hear in the media, would you plan a career or choose a degree or diploma that would take you into the food industry?

Based on what you see / hear don’t you think we need to attract the best and brightest to address old fashioned technology and processes that can lead to injury or death?

Thankfully, I Know Better: The Food Industry is an Amazing Place to Work

Many of the organizations I have personally worked with are excellent.  They put their staff first (regardless of their role within the company) and care about their customers second.  Everyone is valued.  In my opinion, the way it should be.

Wouldn’t you want the people making the food you eat to feel valued and take pride in their work? If they don’t how do you think that translates in the food industry?  I’m talking food safety, sanitation, you get the idea.

I’ve seen it for myself, but more compelling are the bright and ambitious students, grads and experienced professionals sharing their stories on the FoodGrads blog.

In their own words they share why they chose a career in food and why they love it.

For the record each and every one of our blog contributors were approached to share their story by me.  The company they work for has nothing to do with it.

I know Adam Yee couldn’t have spoken to almost 100 people asking them why their food job rocks, if it doesn’t!

I can’t yet regulate the companies who join FoodGrads and post jobs.  However, I can stand behind the stories and experiences shared on our blog.  When you listen to the podcasts, you can’t mistake the passion and pride of the interviewees.

Those people are proud of the work they do and the companies they work for.  They are proud of the contribution they are making in the world.

The Few Spoil it For The Many

It will be the next generation who force out the bad guys, refuse to join companies that operate carelessly or dangerously, diminishing the importance of their staff regardless if they are hourly or corporate team members.

They won’t survive if they are unable to attract people to work for them.

We need big food, we need the food industry to thrive, we need driven, ambitious young people to bring their talent to food.  So, if you do work in food and are proud of your profession and proud of your employer, let’s hear about it.

Bad news always travels fast and a person’s life outweighs productivity and profits.

But let’s not let the ‘bad apples’ win, lets not let the negative stories monopolize the media.  There is so much good work being done– and good people at the heart of the industry–that’s what the perception of the food industry should be!

Author: Nicole Gallace, Optimist & Founder of FoodGrads

I would love to hear your thoughts about the industry?  If you love your job and want to share your story, email nicole@foodgrads.com.

If you are an employer, what is your company doing to improve the perception of the industry to attract talent and address the skills shortage?

Side note: the companies that join FoodGrads are interested in supporting and developing the next generation of food industry professionals.  They understand our mission and want to help, those companies tend to be the ‘good guys‘ 🙂