Attracting and Retaining Skilled Talent

Karin Knutson ·

Finding talent is difficult. Finding specifically skilled talent is even harder. With fewer young adults pursuing manufacturing careers, this challenge is not going to go away in the near future. Many factors and misperceptions can shed light on reasons why fewer young adults seem to be pursuing manufacturing jobs as careers: it’s dirty, parents aren’t encouraging it, schools are pushing college degrees, it doesn’t pay well, no flexibility, etc. But many communities and companies are working hard to reverse this thought process. This article provides a few tips on how you can attract and retain the skilled talent you need now.

Attracting Talent

Working Environment/Company Culture – A defined company culture will assist in developing a team atmosphere. This, along with an updated working environment, can add huge benefits to employee morale. Take a picture of your break room. Would you want to have your lunch there?

Internships – This is a fantastic way for you to “try before you buy” with different candidates and see how they work in your company environment, while allowing them to demonstrate work ethic and potential.

Developing the Local Pipeline – Look to your local community colleges and tech schools and build relationships with the faculty and curriculum staff. They know their students best and can help to identify which ones could be good candidates for your organization. They also should be open to hearing your company’s specific workforce needs and adding any needed essential skills to their curriculum. Also, consider committing to hiring a certain number of their graduates for internships to deepen the relationship.

Retaining Champion Employees

Keeping Your Seasoned Employees on to Train Newer Employees – There is no better way to train new or less seasoned employees than with On-the-Job training with your subject matter experts. As a possible added benefit, your subject matter experts are sometimes open to continued employment on as part-time basis, saving you money.

Career Ladders – This lets your employees know that once they hit a certain level of skill competency, they can move up the company ladder. Knowing there are opportunities to grow with the company can create significant self-motivation. Show your employees the skill attainment they need with a simple check list and have their supervisors confirm when skills and responsibilities have changed.

Up-Skilling and Training Incumbents – Don’t only look externally for candidates when you just might have your own great pipeline in your entry level employees. Assess who has gained the most skill since joining your team and up-skill them to replace any open or needed job position. Invest time and resources into your current employees.

We know that many companies are facing the reality of low or shrinking training budgets. But, think about the cost to your company of losing a long-time client over poor quality or having an injured employee due to inefficient training. (It is guaranteed that good, quality training will cost much less!) Pull the numbers from a manufacturing line being down for a day, or even an hour, without your one “go to” employee there to fix it. Look at the profits from getting that huge order because production is on time and quality is at its benchmark. The majority of these situations are a direct reflection of decisions on hiring and training employees. By hiring the appropriate candidates, properly training your existing team, and providing a quality culture and work environment, your company is making an investment in its future success!