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Top 5 HR Concerns (and Solutions) Among Manufacturers

Top 5 HR Concerns (and Solutions) Among Manufacturers

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What are manufacturers talking about? We heard from your peers as they discussed the labor shortage and their personal human resources challenges.

image of a hand holding a wooden block showing the letters HR

In Sikich’s 2019 M&D Report, we gathered findings on talent challenges in the industry and how your peers approach the labor shortage to create opportunities for their businesses.

It’s widely known that manufacturing and distribution companies are faced with labor challenges in today’s workforce and it was voiced as a top concern during our discussions. From a lack of interest in manufacturing careers among younger generations to a growing skills gap, leaders must focus now more than ever on attracting and retaining talent for their organization.

After reading this report and learning more in-depth about the obstacles manufacturers face, I spoke with leading industry experts to understand how they address labor challenges and their plans to improve their recruiting and retention strategies. Here are the top five concerns heard among your peers:

1. Conquering the Labor Shortage Through Strategic Recruitment

By objectively setting recruitment goals, employers can strategically attract new talent. Many M&D companies are employing dedicated HR teams or consultants to activate their recruiting campaigns. Without the extra assistance, recruiting efforts can sometimes fall flat and lack allure in the eyes of candidates. Company leaders are also utilizing job sites, such as Indeed, and even advertising on billboards and in local newspapers. Beyond this, proactive managers have nearly eliminated pre-emptive drug testing for marijuana and have instead begun training supervisors on how to identify an individual who may be under the influence at work.

2. Attracting Candidates with a Different Skillset and Employing Automation

According to the findings in our M&D Report, only approximately one-third or fewer manufacturing companies use automation extensively in their businesses. Because so few companies are integrating automation in their processes, the opportunity to attract technology-minded individuals with a skillset for industrial innovation is ripe. Manufacturers looking to expand their pool of candidates can attract applicants by hiring for roles to perform in-house research on automation, programmers to operate the technology and employees to oversee automation projects.

3. Retaining Valued Employees by Promoting a Positive Culture

Manufacturing leaders are looking at the core of their organizations and working to improve their company’s culture to retain valuable talent. Many companies have started to offer flexible scheduling (where employees can pick their hours, so long as they meet the required number of hours they are expected to work), in-house daycare programs for working parents and benefits packages with greater vacation time. Management teams are also committing to providing leadership training, continued education and development opportunities for their staff.

In addition, negative reinforcement almost always creates unwanted consequences. Before docking an employee’s pay or demoting them, it’s important to analyze the situation and act with a positive attitude. Consider how this experience could help your employee learn, grow and improve before taking serious action. Conversely, hard work and dedication should be rewarded with positive incentives—such as a long lunch, verbal praise or a holiday bonus.

4. Referral Programs – Involving Current Employees in the Search for New Talent

Many companies are implementing referral programs that encourage staff to seek out new talent while also rewarding the employees that do so. Leaders noted the quality of candidates that come through a referral from a trusted employee who knows the business and the job requirements is often better than a “blind” hire. Rewards for employees and new staff often consist of financial incentives.

5. Eliminating Temporary Positions

Leaders in the industry have learned that it’s often more advantageous to hire permanent personnel instead of temporary or seasonal employees. While it typically costs more to keep individuals employed year-round, turnover can possibly decrease for companies that implement this policy. As well, recruiting, onboarding and retention efforts can be simplified and conducted less frequently (saving your management or HR team time and stress). Not to mention, the nature of a temporary job struggles to attract even unskilled labor.  

Want to discuss your business’s goals and obstacles? Please reach out to us.

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