Do you ever wonder if Monsanto people are making decisions about the future of the country through positions at the USDA, FDA or other government bodies? It’s a strange question but based on the Twitter search strings I see sometimes, it seems this is a theory a lot of people think is plausible. What’s the basis for the thought? A handful of Monsanto employees in the past couple of decades left the company and ended up working for the U.S. Government.
In no way, does Monsanto control the government. We simply seem to have a shared goal of hiring good people.
There are a number of things that have to do with the way people make choices in their careers and the vast majority get to personal preference and drive. There are some things which Monsanto is impacted by or active in that should be noted:
- Career Mobility in the US – I’ve worked for half a dozen different businesses. And although I’m not a baby boomer, the stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on folks a bit older than me, it seems like that is pretty much the norm. The stats show: “These younger baby boomers held an average of 11 jobs from ages 18 to 44. (In this report, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.) On average, men held 11.4 jobs and women held 10.7 jobs.” Given that, one would expect that quite a number of people move between public and private employers. And it appeared that the number has likely risen from previous generations.
- Clear loyalty – When I first went from one job to another that seemed closely related to the one I had left, it was clear to me and the two organizations involved that my allegiances had changed. I remember the time period involved more than a year of me excusing myself from meetings. That’s the same with many people in today’s changing job market as employment agreements require individuals to sever ties with previous employment and recuse themselves if there is any perceived conflict are commonplace. And the government takes it a step further with many employees having to swear to an oath of office.
- Recruiting for Expertise/Experience – What drives Monsanto’s hiring practices? We are fairly transparent about it, even having a page on our career site about who we hire. The characteristics looked for include ability to engage in teams and networks across diverse groups, courage and candor as we face some of the world’s toughest challenges head on and being able to respectfully disagree is highly valued, agility – in the dynamic industry we operate within, flexibility and the ability to adapt to new situations creates more opportunities along the way for our customers and employees’ careers, initiative and foresight, and a results orientation
- Working Environment – Monsanto is frequently mentioned as one of the best places to work in part because we encourage diversity, offer opportunities for new challenges and value innovation as well as making positive contributions to our communities. Being an agricultural firm, our employees are frequently connected to family farms where they see the positive impacts of our products.
As a tax payer, I hope the U.S. government is able to recruit good people who have a base of knowledge that helps the public greater good. That would require a diverse set of employees with experience in various areas of any given industry. Within agriculture, I hope there is a balance of people who know biotech and organic farming first-hand. I hope there are people who understand nutrition and can help set realistic programs into place. And I expect all who serve in the government to put that first, no matter where they’ve worked previously or hope to work in the future. They owe all of us that much since individually we are the ones funding their salaries.