/ About / Corporate Responsibility

People

Hormel Foods strives to be a company where people aspire to work and remain for the duration of their careers. We have a proud tradition of fostering long-term careers that starts with promoting from within and continues with the support of competitive compensation, benefits, training and a safe work environment.

At Hormel Foods, our employees are our greatest asset. In fiscal year 2013, we had 19,800 employees as part of our company, in more than 40 plants and offices around the United States and through joint ventures in countries such as China and the Philippines. We invite you to learn more about our people here, as well as in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report

Professional Development

Investing in Employees

At Hormel Foods, continuous improvement and innovation are a way of life, and these principles are the foundation for our employees’ personal development and a means to encourage continuous growth in their careers. We know it’s also important to help employees manage career endings, which is accomplished by offering ongoing retirement planning education workshops.

For more information on our employee programs, please see our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Performance Review Program

Hormel Foods employs a formal annual needs evaluation and training enrollment process for more than 3,000 of our employees. Administered through the corporate learning and development team, this process provides structure for managers to meet with each direct report to evaluate development needs and identify training to be delivered, as well as set priorities for the employee’s development and discuss opportunities for career enhancement and advancement.

More information on our performance review program can be found in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Training

Training is an important part of fostering long-term careers and high employee satisfaction at Hormel Foods. Training is based on applicability to employees’ daily activities; therefore, the number of training hours per employee varies across the company. Some of our training programs include:

  • Accountability
  • Accounting
  • Benefits
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Executive leadership
  • Food safety
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Management/leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Operations
  • Reliability/maintenance
  • Sales
  • Six Sigma
  • Workplace safety

Our career development efforts feature training and coaching that facilitate and encourage career enhancement and advancement. We also offer educational assistance to reimburse eligible employees for undergraduate, graduate and preparatory courses.

View the latest training data in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Hormel Foods Training Courses Examples

Leading for Success Advanced Seminar: Consumer products sales (CPS) employees participate in the Leading for Success Advanced Seminar, which is designed to further advance skill sets through additional training and development sessions. Participants also spend time with the CPS executive leadership team.

Manager training: Employees of Hormel Foods from various company locations participate in manager training. Participants are chosen from different areas of the company to broaden the conversation and provide an opportunity to network. The event focuses on coaching employee performance sessions, situational leadership, human resources issues, performance management and compensation.

Foodservice sales training: Foodservice sales employees from across the country complete this program, which provides newer employees with a better understanding of how to more effectively sell the benefits of the company’s products, become a consultative seller and better represent Hormel Foods and our brands. The training includes presentations by the foodservice marketing team that highlight the full line of products the foodservice division offers.

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Diversity

At Hormel Foods, diversity is defined as the similarities and differences we share with one another. Not right, wrong, good or bad: simply different — it is each of our ability to be unique. This encompasses personal attributes, values and organizational roles. Embracing all of the ways in which we are different — beyond race and gender — fosters innovation and cultivates an environment in which people aspire to remain and build long-term careers.

Our human resources department is actively implementing initiatives related to diversity and inclusion, including training programs and solidifying relationships with organizations at higher education institutions. Scorecards for business units and an inclusion index to track and monitor progress related to these initiatives are also key components of the companywide program.

Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Councils

The Executive Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee and the cross-functional Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council are champions of diversity and inclusion and advocates for change. The Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council is responsible for implementing the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan throughout the organization, which provides a roadmap for building a culture of inclusion by creating an environment where employees feel engaged and are encouraged to actively participate in building on their aspirations (whether through employee resource groups, mentoring or other development opportunities). The council is responsible for:

  • Creating measurable goals for the organization based on the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan;
  • Creating a task force to execute on goals;
  • Providing quarterly metrics to the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee;
  • Demonstrating and championing inclusion initiatives;
  • Publishing diversity and inclusion efforts and successes in internal and external publications; and
  • Encouraging and supporting the development of employee resource groups in support of enhancing the understanding of the similarities and differences we share.

Information about our 2013 diversity programs can be found in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

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Benefits

We offer competitive compensation and a benefits program that attracts and retains top talent. Full-time employees are eligible for disability coverage, life insurance, health care and retirement programs.

Counseling Resource Service

Hormel Foods offers employees and their family members access to a free, confidential counseling service. Employees can contact the service for information concerning work, home and life issues related to grief and loss, child care and elder care referrals, midlife transitions, staying fit after age 50, budgeting, “empty nest” syndrome and retirement planning. The service provides information in many ways: online, via the telephone, through printed materials (tip sheets, booklets, kits, etc.) and through digital materials (CDs and videos).

Retirement Savings Plans

Hormel Foods employees are eligible for a retirement savings plan that includes company contributions. In fiscal year 2013, the company contributed $29.9 million to its defined contribution benefit plans. Hormel Foods also contributed $25.9 million to its defined benefit plans and continues to maintain these plans on a fully funded basis.

Educational Assistance

Our educational assistance program reimburses eligible employees for undergraduate, graduate and preparatory course fees, books and lab fees.

Adoption Assistance

Hormel Foods offers adoption benefits to employees. These benefits include financial reimbursement, leave of absence and resource and referral services for up to three adoptions per household during the employee’s tenure with the company.

More information on our employee benefits can be found in Careers.

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Compensation

The goal of our pay programs is to attract, retain, motivate and reward highly qualified employees. We aim to maintain internal equity while remaining competitive with external labor markets and ensuring consistent and nonbiased pay programs. Information about our employee tenure can be found in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Under our merit-based process, managers assign individual performance ratings to employees in conjunction with our formal performance management process. This involves annual written performance appraisals, which require multiple levels of approval. An employee’s individual performance and relative position to the external labor market determines his or her merit increase.

For our salaried employees who are part of the parent-company organization, we conducted an independent third-party analysis to statistically review pay differences by gender, minority and age to ensure nondiscriminatory pay practices. The results of this analysis showed no pay inequities. We plan to expand this type of analysis throughout our organization.

To learn more about executive compensation, visit the Performance-Based Executive Compensation section.

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Wellness Our Way

Hormel Foods understands that maintaining leadership in our field requires optimal performance from our employees. We also understand that employees perform best when they are healthy. We aim to cultivate and maintain a culture of health that is focused on encouraging and empowering employees to make healthy lifestyle choices through awareness, prevention and positive behavior change. To that end, we have a companywide wellness initiative called Wellness Our Way, which includes activities and resources such as:

  • Wellness challenges: Wellness challenges are offered periodically throughout the year. The challenges are structured to encourage participation from all employees. Challenge topics have included: fitness, stress relief and overall total wellness.
  • LifeWorks employee resource program: LifeWorks is a confidential program available to all employees and their families to help find practical solutions for issues (e.g., staying healthy, financial issues, managing stress, raising children, relationships, assisting aging parents, etc.). The program is free of charge and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Profit Sharing

Hormel Foods established our profit sharing plan in 1938 as a method to return a portion of the company’s profit back to employees, either as a payment in cash or as a contribution to the Joint Earning Profit Trust Plan. In fiscal year 2013, we announced the largest annual profit sharing in company history to be distributed to eligible employees: nearly $17 million.

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Flexibility

The company offers flexible work arrangements, which includes flex-time schedules, alternative work schedules, partial work arrangements, telecommuting and a summer-hours program.

Additionally, Hormel Foods offers a phase-back option for employees following birth of a child, adoption or placement of a child in foster care. This option allows employees to spread out their 12 weeks leave allotted through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) over a maximum of 24 weeks.

The Hormel Foods flex-force program provides flexible employment opportunities for retirees who elect to return to the workplace. These employees can assume a variety of responsibilities in the role they held prior to retirement on a part-time or intermittent basis. This could include vacation coverage, temporary or weekend coverage, mentoring or training new staff, project work or filling other short-term employment needs.

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Fair Employment

Founder George A. Hormel was instrumental in promoting the first child labor laws in the United States. He was obligated to work when he was a young boy, and it was his hope that in the future, no child would be forced into a similar situation of exploitation.

Hormel Foods complies with the age regulations set forth by local, state and federal laws. We look to hire the best talent and do this through local talent recruitment. We also promote from within the company.

We do not hire anyone under the age of 18 at our processing facilities, in compliance with employment laws of the United States. Our policies do not tolerate child labor or forced labor at our facilities, and we forbid the use of forced prison labor. Information on collective bargaining agreements can be found in the 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

We value the individual at Hormel Foods. Our policies protect each employee’s right to a workplace in which everyone follows laws, avoids discriminatory practices and shows respect for one another. If for any reason an employee feels that he or she has received treatment that does not align with these expectations, an anonymous third-party hotline is available to report the discrepancy. A team is assigned to review each issue and find a resolution.

Immigration

Hormel Foods fully adheres to hiring practices according to all local and federal guidelines. We have voluntarily used the E-Verify system since its inception in 1997. Administered by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, this program verifies the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States. We also participate in the Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which assists us with verification efforts and enhances fraudulent document awareness through education and training.

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Human Rights

Human Rights Statement

Hormel Foods conducts business responsibly and ethically. Workforce posters at all locations publically endorse and acknowledge adherence to the Equal Employment Opportunity; Fair Labor Standards Act (WH Pub. 1088 10/96); Family and Medical Leave Act (WH Pub. 1420 8/01); Occupational Safety and Health Administration (dependent on state requirements); Employee Polygraph Protection Act (WH Pub. 1462 9/88); the Federal WARN Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. In addition, we respect international principles aimed at promoting and protecting human rights, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s standards and UN Global Compact.

When Hormel Foods considers international investments, acquisitions and joint ventures as part of the due diligence process, our teams conduct research on human rights parameters to ensure compliance with all governing country or province laws regarding investment agreements, including:

  • The human resources (HR) department verifies that the workforce is of appropriate and legal age.
  • The HR and accounting departments ascertain whether the target company is in compliance with the governing country or province laws regarding paying for overtime as well as setting aside and disbursing legally required employee welfare funds for areas such as housing and education.
  • The legal department addresses overarching questions to determine whether the acquisition target adheres to all governing country or province laws and whether there are outstanding litigation or enforcement actions underway or expected.
  • HR also documents the target firm’s adherence to employee safety and documented right to work policies, ensuring they meet governing country or province laws.

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Safety and Well-Being

Hormel Foods is known for its award-winning safety programs. Our dedicated corporate safety department develops and administers companywide safety policies to ensure the safety of each employee and compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. The corporate safety department also conducts annual safety audits of our manufacturing plants to ensure compliance with company safety policies.

View the latest safety data in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Safety Training

Our corporate safety department administers the monthly Our Way to Safety employee training program. Plant safety managers coordinate monthly train-the-trainer safety meetings for plant supervisors.

Examples of topics covered by the trainings include electrical safety, emergency action plans, ergonomics, the global harmonized system for hazard communication, inclement weather, lockout–control of hazardous energy, machine guarding and personal protective equipment.

There are 133 automated external defibrillator (AED) devices located in Hormel Foods plants and more than 2,000 trained responders. Response team members receive biennial training in bloodborne pathogens, first aid, CPR and the use of the AED. AED readiness is ensured through a daily check of the AEDs. Three lives have been saved since the inception of the AED program at Hormel Foods in 2008.

Companywide safety conferences are held biennially, and the 2013 Our Way to Safety Conference included safety management employees from all company locations, along with members of the Corporate Safety Steering Committee. The theme was “Influencing Employee Safety,” which focused on developing methods to teach and influence employees to work safely.

View the latest safety training information in our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Safety Management

Hormel Foods has a Corporate Safety Steering Committee that provides corporate-wide safety process leadership to all business units of Hormel Foods and its subsidiaries. Hormel Foods has long been at the forefront of the industry in employee safety, and this committee further drives our leadership in this area.

The goals of the committee include:

  • Driving continuous improvement of the safety process;
  • Analyzing key safety metrics and worker compensation trends;
  • Evaluating and approving initiatives that will support continuous improvement of the safety process;
  • Driving standardization of the safety process to all business units; and
  • Demonstrating safety champion commitment to ensure employee safety is the No. 1 priority.

Our Safety, Health and Ergonomic Policy states that the safety, well-being and comfort of each employee is a team effort requiring everyone’s participation. Each location operates with a manager responsible for the safety program and a safety committee that meets monthly to review and discuss safety topics and ideas. The committees are responsible for assisting in the development of the plant’s safety processes and keeping employees engaged. In addition, they perform monthly safety and ergonomic audits, and when necessary, ensure corrective actions are implemented. Companywide, our safety committees are comprised of more than 2,000 hourly and salaried employees.

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Employee Engagement

At Hormel Foods, we believe that a more engaged workforce leads to a more innovative, productive and profitable company. We take specific steps to increase the engagement of our people, beginning with our biennial Employee Engagement Survey to help understand what engagement at Hormel Foods really means and how it can be enhanced.

In 2013, employee engagement increased from the 2011 survey. Seventy-one percent of respondents were in agreement with statements that measure overall engagement. Our employee response rates continue to outperform the manufacturing industry average of 65 percent.

To help drive change throughout the company, leaders are designated as “survey champions” and charged with explaining and sharing survey results with their direct reports. Survey meetings are conducted across the company to identify key opportunities for improvement and action plans are developed. Hormel Foods believes this process helps us drive change in the company and equips leaders with a tool to identify opportunities for improvement.

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