Focusing on Employees
October 7, 2022
Written By Jon Ihler
During my time as president of MFA Oil, I’ve had the opportunity to recognize many employees with awards celebrating their service milestones with the company. Some of these individuals have been with the cooperative for 30 or 40 years—a rare achievement in today’s workplace where job hopping is commonplace.
I always make it a point to ask our employees who’ve been with us for multiple decades what has kept them with us for so long. The answers are usually variations of the same theme: MFA Oil is a great place to work with wonderful people.
While this is always encouraging to hear, we know we can’t grow complacent. We have worked hard in recent years to re-establish a strong company culture based on the values and beliefs that serve as the guiding light for our cooperative. Culture is the glue that holds us together. Without an appropriate action plan to maintain it, the glue begins to fall apart.
Putting our customers first is the cornerstone of the company’s core values and our heritage as a farmer-owned cooperative. The best way to ensure our farmers and customers receive the service they need and deserve is to hire and hold on to high-quality employees.
Part of our plan at MFA Oil has been to put a strategic priority on developing our employees. We want to ensure we provide appropriate motivation, incentives, learning and growth opportunities, and safety measures to attract and retain talented employees.
Some companies view investing in employees in this fashion as risky. They worry that the resources they put into employee development could make their staff more likely to be poached by competitors. Companies that think this way are missing the point. They would be better off asking themselves whether they can afford not to invest in their personnel.
We want to provide our staff with positions that feel more like a career than just a job. Those terms may sound similar, but there’s a crucial difference. A job is something you do to earn money to meet your basic needs. A career is a long-term professional journey based on your passions and personal ambitions.
One of our recent retirees, JoAnn Wilborn, who worked a combined 45 years at MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil, expressed a view that we hope becomes a familiar refrain for all our employees.
“I know some people dread getting up in the morning and going to work, but that has never been my experience,” Wilborn said. “This is a great place to work, and the people are amazing. I have learned so much over the years and had lots of fun. One of the most important lessons was to take pride in your job and do the best work that you can. I have always tried to approach my work that way—doing everything I can to help people.”
At MFA Oil, we will continue focusing on employees and providing long-term career opportunities. Because we know the best way to ensure a great customer experience is by creating a great employee experience.