2018 Sustainability Report

Engagement & Retention

We embrace the diversity of our team members, customers, stakeholders and consumers – their unique backgrounds, experience, thoughts and talents. Everyone is valued and appreciated for their distinct contributions to the growth and sustainability of our business.

Fostering an Engaged and Empowered Workforce

We’re a company built on faith, family, hard work and a tradition of doing what’s right. Maintaining a culture that reflects our core values is an ongoing task as we acquire new companies and grow our business.

Our team members play a key role in helping us stay true to these values. We support them by making sure they have the tools and resources they need to be successful and by establishing transparent, two-way communication with new and current employees.


Total Upward Academy




In FY2018, we expanded our language and life skills program, known as Upward Academy, to 33 Tyson locations, with plans to eventually make it available to all team members.

About Our Workforce

The majority of our workforce – some 102,000 team members – are hourly and work in our U.S. chicken, beef, pork and prepared foods production facilities. This is a diverse segment of our workforce comprised of many recent immigrants to the U.S. The remainder of our nearly 13,000 U.S. team members are salaried and primarily work in plant management support and corporate positions.

Workplace Goals

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10 percent reduction in OSHA recordable incidents

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10 percent increase in employee retention

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Extend ESL and financial literacy training to all hourly employees

Since FY2017, we have been making progress on programs to better support our hourly team members in the areas of workplace training, safety, compensation and benefits and life skills. To measure progress against these initiatives, we are working toward three workplace goals, all of which are ongoing, year-over-year goals. The first is a 10 percent reduction in OSHA recordable incidents. We are proud to report that we exceeded our 15 percent target in FY2018 by reducing incidents by 22 percent compared to FY2017. Because of this great progress, we are now below the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average for food manufacturing. Therefore, we changed the goal from 15 percent to a 10 percent reduction target in FY2019 which we feel is more sustainable. Read more in the Safety section of this report.

Our second goal is to achieve a 10 percent increase in employee retention. In FY2018, retention decreased slightly over the previous fiscal year. Wage pressure combined with the lowest unemployment rates the U.S. has experienced in decades have made it increasingly difficult to stabilize our workforce and achieve the desired level of improvement in retention. A strong focus on becoming the employer of choice and investing in our team members, however, has led to improvements in wages, work schedules, facilities, recognition and engagement. Employee engagement, in turn, drives improvements in operational efficiency, safety and our team members’ well-being. That’s why, for example, in FY18 our hourly safety committee team members received training on the company’s We Care process, which is grounded in building a safety culture based on human relations. We also continue to strengthen our communications at all levels of the organization to eliminate unsafe behaviors and conditions and the engagement of our hourly team members is a vital part this process. We will continue to invest in these areas, which we believe will help ensure retention as national trends change.

We are encouraged about our forward momentum as the first quarter of FY2019 shows a positive trend. We are benefitting from record high retention while keeping team members safer than ever as a result of proactive measures to promote a culture of safety and caring in our plants. Work schedules are changing to promote a more equitable work-life balance which not only results in improved attendance, but also makes our operations more efficient. This practice has made Tyson the employer of choice in a number of labor markets and has improved our performance in a number of industry benchmarks.

Our third goal is to enable hourly employees to access English as a second language and extend financial literacy training to all employees. Enhancing both of these life skills will help employees better integrate into the communities where they live and work while better positioning them to realize their full personal potential. In FY2018, we expanded our language and life skills program, known as Upward Academy, to 33 Tyson locations, with plans to eventually make it available to all team members. Read more about the Upward Academy program.

Across all business units, we continue to execute a project for “span of control” that involves hiring additional production supervisors to help drive improvements in safety, retention and performance.

We are also utilizing alternative work schedules in our plants. We are evaluating specific departments within a plant that generate the most instability to determine if they are candidates for process improvement, modeling changes or alternative work schedules.

We continue to collaborate with Oxfam America and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) as we implement and evolve these workplace enhancements. UFCW holds 22 labor contracts with us that represent nearly 30,000 workers. 

The Tyson Culture

We onboard new team members by educating them about the Tyson culture and company history. We strive for a consistent, inclusive culture where all work ladders up to one common company purpose.

We may not be perfect, but we can always be better. See how Tyson team members pursue good in all they do.

Talent Strategy

Our talent strategy is focused on attracting the best talent – recognizing and rewarding their performance, while developing and retaining them. Within Tyson’s Talent & Culture function, our talent acquisition team equips and enables our businesses to hire talent that solves future business challenges through standardization, talent strategy and engagement. The team focuses on development of sourcing strategies that identify best-in- class target industries, companies and schools to acquire desired capabilities. Our recruitment efforts also aim to build a diverse organization that brings experiences and backgrounds as diverse as the consumer marketplace we serve. To this end, we actively engage in military, LGBT, college and other diversity recruiting efforts. We have three talent objectives that support our “grow, deliver, sustain” talent strategy:

  • Zero Talent “Outages:” We strive to grow and develop the differentiated capabilities and skills that we need for the future. This includes focusing on current workforce development and recruiting new team members with the skills needed for future business growth.
  • Succession Planning versus Replacement: We strive to maintain a robust pipeline of talent, actively developing our current team members throughout the organization, and engaging with potential team members externally so that we have a strong talent pool to pull from when movement happens.
  • Be a Talent Magnet: Our goal is to be the employer of choice within our markets and peer groups.

In 2018, Tyson’s talent acquisition team worked consistently to advance our employment brand through efforts like updating our career site and creating print and online career journey profiles to show what it’s like to work and grow at Tyson. We have also created a unique approach to minimize skills gaps while creating an easier path for those interested in an industrial maintenance career. Over the next two years, we will partner with 60 technical school programs across the U.S. to provide student-focused plans that offer critical trade experience before graduation.

For example, our through our CONNECT 4 program, high-school students in three Carroll County, Arkansas public schools will have an opportunity to be introduced to the industrial world. Programs like Connect 4 allow students to develop both theoretical and practical knowledge of industrial maintenance, a trade specialty with 85 different skills.

To further move the needle on succession planning, we created a new talent mapping process that begins with the team member’s perspective on career aspirations and focuses more intentionally on investing in the development of a team member to proactively build a more robust pipeline of talent. This new process provides leaders within functions across the organization even greater visibility into our pool of exceptional talent. We also established succession plans for key leadership roles and development plans to support those team members who have been identified as successors to ensure they are ready to step in when the opportunity arises. Over the course of 2018 all management roles were mapped, and we have been continuously activating succession plans.

Tyson has enhanced other aspects of the team member experience to increase satisfaction and adapt to the changing reality of our workforce. We updated, for example, our employee recognition portal, providing expanded resources, templates and tools for people managers to use. To address our diverse talent management needs, in FY2019 we will be implementing Workday, a best-in-class, mobile-friendly HR platform that manages all people-related activities, from hire to retire, in a single system. Workday will empower leaders with insights into their teams’ skillsets with userfriendly, real-time embedded reporting to help them make data-driven talent decisions.

A comprehensive talent strategy is increasingly becoming table stakes in the workplace. In FY2019, we will continue to build on our foundation by focusing on team member experience, removing barriers to engagement, further modernizing the human relations process, focusing on hourly team member retention and accelerating the impact of best-in-class talent practices.

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In FY2019 we will be implementing Workday, a best-in-class, mobile-friendly HR platform that manages all people-related activities, from hire to retire, in a single system.

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Our new hire portal, Launch, ensures that all new corporate team members have a consistent experience and an increased sense of belonging at Tyson Foods.

Team Member Onboarding

Our onboarding program and new-hire portal, Launch, offers new corporate team members the tools and resources they need to reach their full potential and feel welcome, included and supported in their careers at Tyson Foods. Launch provides content to help new hires become familiar with who we are as an organization and gain a better understanding of our culture and how they fit into the Tyson Foods family.

The program includes support tools designed to help managers in onboarding new team members. These materials set managers up for success with helpful email and onboarding plan templates, how-to guides and an onboarding checklist that leads managers through each step of the process to ensure a positive onboarding experience.

Launch ensures that all new corporate team members have a consistent experience and an increased sense of belonging at Tyson Foods. Given Tyson’s growth, Launch is already helping us onboard new organizations after an acquisition to more smoothly integrate the unique capabilities of the acquired company and its talent, while also introducing them to our culture and ways of working. Preliminary survey and focus group data reveal that new hires have found Launch helpful in their onboarding process.

Specific elements that new hires say are most helpful include:

  • Plans that contain 30-, 60- and 90-day roadmaps for onboarding
  • The Launch New Hire Portal, which includes milestone tasks and resource guides
  • Launch Missions, a gamification solution that has helped new hires further immerse themselves in our company and culture

Based on the success of this program, our corporate HR team is working with HR partners in our plants to adapt Launch elements for onboarding management and management support in that environment. Once piloted, we will identify opportunities to replicate the Launch platform for our hourly team member population.

In FY2018, we developed a new process to onboard Tyson team members who join Tyson as the result of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). For each function involved in M&A, we identified steps to ensure smooth transitions throughout, as well as project leads who will act as communication liaisons and help scale and resolve issues. We developed templates and documentation and will maintain these in one location for ease of use and accuracy.

Team Member Training

In FY2018, we enhanced training efforts with a new online learning library. This library is accessible to all Tyson team members who have access to our company intranet. The learning platform offers more than 2,000 learning resources, such as articles, videos, training workbooks and expert interview podcasts on topics such as leadership, stress management, strategy and communication.

We also offer comprehensive training programs for plant leaders at all levels. These include:

  • Complex Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP): A leadership development program that culminates in a presentation to senior leadership. Participants are asked to consider what changes they can make in their plants, as well as other changes they could make in their personal and professional lives. In 2018, we scaled this program from eight classes down to four.
  • Operations Leader Boot Camp: A program that includes leadership training, Lean training and in-plant application of lessons learned. This year, we expanded Lean training and added community service projects to the program.
  • Supervisor Boot Camp: A combination of leadership and hands-on training within our plants and live operations. This program now includes emotional intelligence leadership training and a waste elimination project that leads to substantial cost savings each year.
  • Health and Safety and Continuous Improvement Teams: Leadership from these teams have identified a training synergy opportunity. We are working to align on a structured, standardized model for delivering plant safety leadership training through a productivity system developed by our Continuous Improvement team. These training sessions will be further utilized to develop structured daily requirements within a production system that enables plant leaders to better monitor and manage the daily expected takeaways from our safety We Care program.
Supervisor Training

Faith in the Workplace

Tyson’s culture is what we call “faith-friendly.” Many team members come to work with a set of beliefs about themselves, their world and how they should live in it. Our team members’ beliefs matter, and their respectful expressions are welcomed. Tyson established a chaplaincy program in 2000 that has since grown to more than 100 dedicated chaplains representing more than 31 different faith groups available at our plants to listen, offer support and talk to team members about daily life.

We know that people don’t leave life behind when they come to work. Learn how our chaplains support team members through life’s challenges.

Our Team Growth Playbook

We hold a deep respect for team collaboration, and we recognize that each team member plays a critical role in the team’s ability to achieve collective goals. We also know that great teams grow every day, prompting us to continuously develop our team skills. Even our Executive Leadership Team is investing time on team development and organizational talent, including a quarterly off-site strategy meeting

At Tyson, our playbook consists of four winning strategies: 

  • Align – Defining team purpose, committing to shared responsibility of team goals, and establishing team procedures and behaviors that support collaboration. 
  • Evolve – Team members individually assess their teams against five well-demonstrated team enablers, as well our Core Behaviors. Assessment results are presented, and teams are given feedback that highlights key areas of opportunity.
  • Adapt – Teams receive tailored skill development that allows them to continuously meet and exceed business objectives over time. 
  • Energize – Our teams are encouraged to connect and network, including taking part in Business Resource Group events or partnering with our Corporate Social Responsibility team.