About Our Employees

About Our Employees


More than 19,500 employees are a part of Hormel Foods. In more than 45 plants and offices around the United States and joint ventures in countries, such as China and the Philippines, our employees are our greatest asset. We invite you to learn more about them.

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As a company, we measure part of our success based on the tenure of our employees. We are honored to report that 58 percent of all employees had five years or more of service at Hormel Foods in fiscal year 2010. Within this group, 15 percent had 20 years or more of service and 4 percent had 30 or more years of service. Each person in our 31-person officer team has an average of 27 years of service.

We also monitor and analyze turnover to identify concerns and have action plans to address this area as necessary.

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Workplace Conduct


Founder George A. Hormel was instrumental in promoting the first child-labor laws in the United States. He was forced to work when he was a young boy, and he wanted no future child to be exploited as he was.

As a result, we value the individual at Hormel Foods. Our policies protect each employee’s right to a workplace in which laws are followed, discriminatory practices are avoided and respect is shown. If for any reason an employee feels he or she has not been treated to his or her expectation, a third-party anonymous hotline is available. A team is assigned to review each issue and find a resolution. This supports an environment in which people want to work and do not want to leave. In 2010, there were zero incidents of discrimination. We also did not lose any hours of working time due to industrial disputes, strikes and/or lock-outs because these events did not occur.

Fair Employment Practices

Hormel Foods complies with the age limits set forth by local, state and federal laws. We look to hire the best talent and do this through local talent recruitment. For example, when we built our new Dubuque (IA) Plant, we actively recruited local residents for hourly and salaried positions. We also promoted from within the company.

We do not hire anyone working at our processing facilities under the age of 18 in compliance with employment laws of the United States. Our policies do not tolerate child labor or forced labor at our facilities, which includes the use of forced prison labor.

Approximately 28 percent of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. We adhere to the National Labor Relations Act and respect the right of employees to choose whether they want to organize a collective bargaining unit or not. There are no operations in which the right to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at significant risk.

Hormel Foods employs an independent third-party analysis to statistically review pay differences by gender, minority and age to ensure non-discriminatory pay practices, of which none were found.


Hormel Foods fully adheres to hiring according to all local and federal guidelines. We have voluntarily used the E-Verify system since its inception in 1997. This program verifies the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States and is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. We also participate in the Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which assists us with these efforts and enhances fraudulent document awareness through education and training.

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Human Rights


Hormel Foods ensures compliance with all Federal and State laws when it comes to all investment agreements. Part of the due diligence we conduct in Human Resources (HR) is to document and make comment as to the target firm’s adherence to employee safety and documented right to work meeting U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) minimum wage requirements and requirements for U.S. domestic programs such as E-Verify.

For international investments, HR conducts due diligence on the appropriate and legal age of the workforce. HR and accounting due diligence also includes whether the target company is in compliance with the governing country or province laws regarding paying for overtime and setting aside and disbursing legally required employee welfare funds for housing and education, among other items.

The company’s legal due diligence also addresses over-arching questions as to whether the acquisition target adheres to all federal, state, and local statutes and whether there is outstanding litigation or enforcement actions underway or expected.

Human Rights Statement

Hormel Foods conducts business responsibly and ethically. Workforce posters at all locations publically endorse and acknowledge adherence to the Equal Employment Opportunity, Fair Labor Standards Act (WH Pub. 1088 10/96), Family and Medical Leave Act (WH Pub. 1420 8/01), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (dependent on state requirements), Employee Polygraph Protection Act (WH Pub. 1462 9/88), the Federal WARN Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. In addition, we respect international human rights principles aimed at promoting and protecting human rights, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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As a result of the Employee Engagement Survey results, which we reported last year, the following progress has been made:

  • Recognition and rewards:
    • Created a workgroup presentation on Recognition Our Way
    • Created a discretionary award ($250/employee)
    • Created Universal Stock options
  • Increased focus on growth and development:
    • Established leadership potential criteria and assessment
    • Established leadership competency model
    • Revised our performance ratings and enhanced our performance management process documentation
    • Developed an improved appraisal form for office hourly employees
  • Improved work/life balance:
    • Took first steps in developing a means for offering phase out retirement positions. Employees work two to three days a week for a few months post retirement, which helps pass along institutional knowledge, provides a mentor for employees and benefits the company
    • Made changes to office hourly premium pay policy to allow greater flexibility in making up time missed during an employee’s regular work schedule
    • Increased the educational assistance undergraduate reimbursement maximum by 75 percent
  • Corporate work environment:
    • Re-established CIP (workgroup resources)
  • Equal opportunity for hourly employees:
    • Established uniform hiring guidelines
    • Established uniform career connection eligibility guidelines
  • Diversity and inclusion:
    • Established employee resource groups
    • Mandated “Appreciating Differences” training for all corporate office employees and piloted the program in the Atlanta plant as well
    • Implemented an inclusion index to measure employee response to engagement items around inclusion
  • Benefits:
    • Implemented a new wellness program – Asset Health
  • Employee Engagement:
    • Piloted the expansion of the employee engagement survey process to include plant hourly at two plants in Wichita, KS, and Osceola, IA, in 2010. Our plans are to expand to two additional plants in 2011.

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  • Category Management

    Category Management_thmb

    Stephanie K. Postma shares how Hormel Foods became the first manufacturer to earn full certification in category management. View video.