If you are in the manufacturing industry, you have probably heard the prediction that manufacturing will have a two-million-worker shortage by 2025.1
The reason there will be so many open positions is a combination of the older generation retiring as well as the creation of new jobs. With this potential labor crisis looming, you need to ensure your manufacturing business is attracting the right people with the right skills, knowledge, and attitude.
You not only have to deal with the skills gap—meaning fewer potential employees have the skills you need to operate your business successfully—but you are also competing with your suppliers, customers, and competitors for the same workers.
So what can you do to put yourself in a better position to be the company of choice for potential employees? You need to set yourself apart.
First, review your company culture. Take an objective look and ask yourself if you would want to work there. If the answer is no, you have a lot of work to do. Start with an employee survey. Ask why current staff stays with you as well as reasons people may leave.
Second, review your benefit package. Look at the total package—sick leave, paid time off, 401(k), medical, child care, and any other benefits you provide to your employees. Consider your industry and the positions you need to fill and whether your current package fits their needs. The area in which you recruit will also affect your benefit package. If you compete with companies nationwide, your benefits need to reflect that. You don’t want to lose good candidates because you don’t have a competitive benefit package.
Think about having extra perks such as an on-site cafeteria or food court. If you are not large enough to sustain an on-site food vendor, think about having catered lunches once or twice per week. You could also subsidize lunch if that would make it possible to have daily food service on site. Small perks like this can go a long way.
Adding a workout facility to your building has many benefits. It gives your employees an easy option to stay healthy. Your employees will appreciate the convenience, and it will keep them fit for work. If your company is not large enough to justify an in-house gym, you could pay for fitness club memberships. Contact your local gyms to see if they might offer a discount if you set up a company membership.
Work with a medical provider to offer on-site health screening, flu shots, or a clinic. It will ensure your employees take better care of themselves and will help to improve the overall health of your staff. Provide job-specific stretches at work stations, free or discounted on-site massages, or even an annual checkup.
Consider having a company picnic or holiday party. Social events give employees an opportunity to bond outside work, meet the people who are important to their coworkers, and have some fun together.
Think about providing intern or apprenticeship programs. In addition, a tuition reimbursement program might encourage current employees to take classes to gain additional skills. You could also consider paying for college or paying off existing student loans.
Now, look at your job offerings. Make sure they are correctly classified. You might not get the talent you need if the job is simply called “Technician.” If the position focuses on improving processes, call it a “Process Improvement Technician” or “Engineering Tech.” In addition, provide clear descriptions of the position, so people understand what they are applying for.
Develop a recruiting strategy. Don’t just place job openings on your company website. Place them on tech colleges’ and universities’ websites and job boards. Hold job fairs three to six months before students graduate or attend local job fairs at universities or tech schools. If you start recruiting one month before graduation, the good candidates will already have jobs lined up. Take some of your employees to the jobs fairs—there is no better advertising for your business than the people who love their jobs and the company they work for.
Think of what sets your company apart from the others in your industry. No one wants to work for an average or below-average company. Everyone wants to work for an industry leader. So step back and evaluate your company and the jobs you need to fill. Make the necessary adjustments to become a leader—not only when it comes to your business, but also when it comes to attracting talented employees. Employees are the foundation of your business. Treat and recruit them that way.