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Becoming an “Employer of Choice” – How the Manufacturing Field Can Retain the Best Talent Today

Becoming an “Employer of Choice” – How the Manufacturing Field Can Retain the Best Talent Today

In early 2020, manufacturers struggled to find good quality talent. But COVID-19 put good employees back into the market due to layoffs, industry changes, safety considerations, or employer displeasure over their navigation through the ongoing pandemic.

While news and economic stories showed businesses going through massive layoffs, Horton’s experience showed otherwise. Our Manufacturing practice’s client-base executed successfully obtaining PPP money – and they held on moving forward. With the help of PPE, social distancing, split shifts, cease job rotations, COVID-19 exposure control plans, and other risk mitigations techniques, we’ve guided many to stay in their day-to-day operations.

But the competition to retain new talent is fierce – and with so many experienced boomers retiring from the manufacturing field, employers are urgently seeking the best of the best. The main question companies are asking is, “How can we become the ‘employer of choice’?”

Sadly, there isn’t a silver bullet to mitigate this issue, but we aren’t hopeless.

We interviewed one of our industry-leading manufacturing clients about the “secret sauce” recipe to attract, retain, and continuously engage employees. Here’s what we learned:
  • Remember, people are people. And that means you have to respect and consider how to treat generations differently.
  • Think about what you were doing pre-COVID that was working. Some ideas:
    • Conduct mid-week check-ins, (aka, “What Are You Working on Wednesdays?”) 
    • Set time aside to virtually speak with employees about specific projects
    • Boost team spirit by sending flowers, gift cards, virtual pizza dinners, etc. 
  • As a younger professional, there is an enhanced awareness of what the labor market can give – including pay, benefits, value-ads, etc. 
    • Make sure they see the value and intangibles from your company sooner rather than later.
    • Your long-term veterans may not know what else is out there. However, they too should have the same value and intangible offerings. 
    • Offer leave of absences and additional time to care for yourself and your family.
But there are challenges to mastering this recipe: 
  • It’s harder now than it was before with career fairs to network and interview in person. Those who are adapting to the virtual front are winners. 
    • If your company has an HR recruiter, partner, or talent manager, they should be very comfortable setting up and filtering talent via Teams, Zoom, Skype interviews. In a way, the company should adopt technology to provide the personal touch as if this was an in-person experience.
  • Leadership can and should be more tolerant of working from home, as long as no one abuses the system. This remote work period caused employees to evolve from being full-time workers at work to simultaneously being full-time workers, moms, dads, uncles, sisters, etc. at their residences.
    • Communications, expectations, surveys, and disciplinary guidelines should be modified and explained for all employees with direct understanding to mid-level and upper-level management.
  • For the year ahead, ownership should be looking at the business’ success while keeping as many employees out of office settings to protect the production/manufacturing/shift staff.

At the end of the day, an authentic brand will resonate. 

“It is always a treat to be able to tell people about TAPCO and the great things we do here. Always remember, it’s the small things that keep employees engaged and build loyalty.” – Curtis Coffin, HR Manager, TAPCO

Leaders who focus on their employees and the future of their company will ultimately attract top talent. That includes your onboarding and training experience, operations, workforce inclusion and diversity, intangible value-ads, and more. The question now is if you are ready to take the next step to a higher level of performance. Do you desire to be an industry leader? Do you need help with a plan to get you there? We can talk you through it – give one of our risk management or employee benefits consultants a call at (800) 383-8283 to start your path forward.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.