Host Aaron Alejandro and Renae Yanez address students looking for a future in agriculture.
The National FFA Organization works to strengthen science and agricultural educational opportunities for students across the country. The Texas FFA Association and Texas FFA Foundation are the largest state organizations in the country.
On this episode of Growing Our Future Podcast, Aaron Alejandro introduces Renae Yanez, Human Resources Director at Priefert. Yanez’s experience in talent acquisition and retention, employee engagement, employee benefits administration, and worker compensation make her an excellent resource for young people hoping to join the workforce.
Show Up Early, Start Fast
Renae Yanez, Human Resources Director at Priefert, recalls growing up on a dairy farm. “It didn’t matter if it was Christmas,” she says. “The cows had to be milked.” Today, Yanez knows that Priefert’s customers—many of them producers themselves—depend on the company to manufacture essential tools. As such, her number one tip for young people looking to enter the job market is “start early, and with gusto.” As an HR director, Yanez says “It’s important that I know my team is out there, in place, ready to roll.”
According to Yanez, companies like Priefert pay close attention to the way employees act from the moment they begin a job. “We are a merit-based company,” she says. “We see people doing a good job and know that this is the person we can count on to represent us in a positive way.” Yanez tells the story of a vice president at Priefert who began as a machinist and gradually worked his way upwards by showing consistency, integrity, and a willingness to learn.
“You don’t have to start at the top,” Yanez says. “You have to start where you are and do your best.”
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Cultivate Your Brand
“Whether you like it or not, you are a walking advertisement for yourself,” Yanez says. She urges young job-seekers to conduct themselves with integrity, especially on social media. “As a young person, you don’t have a lot to stand on, so whatever you do have to stand on matters,” Yanez says. Alejandro agrees that a choice as simple as keeping one’s profile picture the same across platforms can help bolster personal brand. This kind of consistency leads directly to growth. “If everybody knows you in the same way,” Yanez says, “They can count on you.”
According to Yanez, it’s never too early to start developing positive work habits like timeliness and honesty.
Priefert employs a wide range of people, from civil engineers to concrete finishers, Yanez says. The most important attribute these employees share is coachability and a desire to learn. “If something interests you, and there’s a class to take, take it,” Yanez urges. “This shows that you care and you want to be good.” In addition to coachability, the willingness to put one’s ego aside is central to Priefert’s culture of teamwork.
Furthermore, Yanez says, the current job market is especially “ripe with possibility” for hard workers who are willing to show up, even if those workers don’t have years of experience.
“If you are the person who will…take the initiative, your opportunities are just endless right now,” she says.
The Texas FFA Foundation’s purpose is to strengthen agricultural education and the Texas FFA program, so each student can develop their potential for personal growth, career success and leadership in a global marketplace..
Learn more about the Texas FFA Foundation at mytexassffa.org.
Learn more about Priefert at: https://www.priefert.com/