Founded in 1977 in Toronto, Erie Meats is one of Canada’s largest meat processors today – specializing in the manufacturing of deli, sous vide, breaded and battered meats.

Our team at Donaldson & James has had the pleasure of working with Erie Meats Ltd. beginning in 2009, when the company set out to acquire a new, 350+ employee production plant in Listowel, Ontario – a plant that was originally operated by Campbell’s.

The Challenge Erie Meats Was Having

Erie Meats Ltd. recognized that they were experiencing a turnover problem that was causing their production and company to suffer substantially. They knew that they needed to figure out away to ramp up their personnel in a small rural labor market, but were seemingly only able to tap a small percentage of the existing workforce from the previous plant.

This is when their management team decided to turn to Donaldson & James for assistance.


The Plan We Put Into Motion

In order to help Erie Meats, we knew that we had to look at the recruitment and hiring program more strategically. And so when we first began working with the processor’s management team, we realized that they were dealing with a culture and low engagement problem, above all else.

Firstly, we needed to get to the bottom of why Erie Meats was experiencing this turnover issue to begin with. Our team started by surveying current employees, as well as conducting thorough exit interviews on workers that had left in order to uncover the potential specific reasons behind this turnover.

Next, we analyzed components of the employees’ job and performed in-depth skill testing on the leadership team to determine whether there was room for improvement with regard to staff management. This provided some extremely valuable insight into why certain things weren’t working.

With all of this data, we were able to create a strategic recruitment plan designed for success. This plan involved:

  • Administering leadership training to the supervisors and other people in the management team.
  • Implementing a marketing plan that involved positioning ourselves as their internal recruitment department.
  • Devising a program whereby we would administer and manage, on behalf of Erie Meats, all payroll, HR and recruitment functions for both of their Ontario production facilities.

The Result

Our strategic plan lead to a marked improvement in applicant traffic instantly, and Erie Meats was able to steadily grow a loyal workforce that still thrives today.

In fact, since the approval and implementation of our the plan in 2010, we've been able to save Erie Meats Ltd. approximately $300-500K per year in fixed costs related specifically to these operating functions.