NEW YORK (AP) — Wine-growing companies have used social media tools like Instagram and Twitter to drive employee retention, but they’re also finding that a growing number of employees aren’t interested in working there.
“We see this growing pains, where some employees want to go somewhere else and that’s a good thing,” said David C. Hickey, chief executive of Hickey Wine & More, which manages wine-producing operations for about 60 companies in California, Colorado, New York and Florida.
Haggerty’s biggest challenge has been convincing employees to stay.
“If they’re not going to come in for a week or two, then they don’t want to be there for longer than that,” Haggerts said.
Some employees are taking to social media more because they don,t want to miss out on opportunities, said Jeff McIlhaney, chief marketing officer at Lettuce Farm.
Some have posted about their favorite places to eat, or their favorite beers and wines.
Others have shared stories about a new job or a new customer.
McIlhany said it was important to stay connected, even when you were at home, and he’s seen a decrease in absenteeism.
“In the past we would get up at 4:30 in the morning and go straight to work, but now it’s a different story,” he said.
The company employs about 250 people.
Its not just the employees who are leaving.
It’s also the company’s marketing and sales staff.
In addition to the hundreds of online sales calls that Lettuces customers make each week, it also offers a variety of social media support, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Lettuce farms its grapes at an area about an hour south of New York City, where it grows wine and sells it at its local grocery store.
Sales are made through its online platform and its online store.
“They’re all really focused on making sure that they’re meeting the needs of their customers and keeping them informed about what’s going on in the grape industry and what’s happening with the market,” McIlhwis said.
Lottes Vineyards, which has operations in the central U.S. and Mexico, has seen a sharp increase in sales and a slight decline in absenteeissism, which typically occurs during harvest season, according to company spokesman Kevin Ligotti.
He said the company has been making changes to improve employee retention and productivity, and its grapeyard is growing faster than it has in the past.
Lellis Vineyards also uses an online marketplace called Vineyards.com, which helps customers find and compare vineyards and wineries.
Lettles Vineyards is currently expanding to the southern U.K., Ireland and Scotland.
Lerner, a wine-production company in South Carolina, is in the midst of expanding its operations in New York, and it is trying to get people to stay for the rest of the year.
“Our goal is to get as many people as possible to the vineyard by December or January,” said Robert Loner, a senior vice president at Lerner.
“We’re doing a lot of testing to see if we can get the people to go through our pipeline before the harvest.”
Some wine-grape growers say they don;t mind the extra effort, but can’t bring themselves to spend more than a couple weeks a year in a wineyard.
“The people who go out and see a vineyard are the ones that are most likely to do well,” said Mark Nesmith, owner of Nescraft Winery.
He has noticed a decrease, however, in people who are staying longer than a week.
“I don’t see the big difference in the length of time it takes for people to leave,” he added.
Loner said some growers are going to the same wine-gardening sites as customers, such as New England vineyards or the central Valley in California.
That means more wine-growers in the area and people who work for those growers are also more likely to stay, he said, adding that some wine-craving workers have a “lone wolf” mentality.
In the end, the biggest challenge is keeping people from leaving.
“It takes a lot more work to make people stay in a job,” Nesley said.
“I’m a big believer that you’ve got to keep your customers and your staff in a place where they’re going to feel like they have a purpose and they’re contributing,” said Hickey.