Award recognizes dairy for exceptional workforce diversity practices
Zoetis recently presented Milk Source LLC with the 2014 Zoetis Customer Diversity and Inclusion Award. The award recognizes customers who promote outstanding employee diversity and inclusion programs. Zoetis selected Milk Source LLC from a pool of 13 candidates, the largest group of award nominees to date.
Milk Source LLC, based in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, employs more than 500 employees on eight dairy operations throughout Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas. Workers come from across the globe, including Mexico, Canada, Israel, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Australia. Milk Source also has hired immigrants from Sudan and Eritrea through a collaboration with World Relief Fox Valley, an organization that assists with and supports refugee resettlement and placement.
Given this unique employee base, Milk Source incorporates culture training, including:
- Weekly Spanish language courses for English-speaking employees and English language courses for Spanish-speaking employees.
- Cross-discipline employee panels during which leaders from various departments (Operations, Herd Management, Business) engage in discussions and respond to questions from their peers.
- Bilingual keynote speakers that help bridge communication gaps in their cultural training sessions.
- Team-building exercises that celebrate the different cultures and acknowledge how the blended culture base work together as one company. A recent exercise had culturally-blended teams produce bilingual commercial messages about Milk Source's core values.
"Milk Source emphasizes cultural diversity at every turn," said Bryan Mergen, senior territory business manager, Zoetis. "They invest significant amounts of time, money and resources in providing ongoing training and education programs to help their employees communicate and collaborate, despite their cultural differences."
Milk Source was one of the first companies to implement PeopleFirst to help identify opportunities for employee development and cultural training.
PeopleFirst is the industry's first comprehensive human capital and business management solutions service. Since 2009, it has helped dairies address leadership development, employee training and business objective and strategies.
"Our corporate credo is sustainability starts here,'" said Jim Ostrom, Milk Source president and CEO. "And that extends beyond farming techniques and animal care. A sustainable workforce is one that embraces its people - all its people - and helps them reach their professional goals. We are honored to have those efforts recognized by Zoetis."
About the Customer Diversity and Inclusion Award
The Zoetis Customer Diversity and Inclusion Award was developed through the company's Diversity and Inclusion Council. The Council is composed of colleagues from all U.S. business units who are dedicated to educating and improving diversity for Zoetis and its customers.
Zoetis (z?-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2014, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion. With approximately 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2015, Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in 120 countries. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.