Good people are hard to find. Keeping them is even harder. With an estimated 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing positions in the U.S. by 2030 according to the National Association of Manufacturing, manufacturing companies of all sizes need to take action now to attract and retain employees needed for business success today and tomorrow.
Unlike in the past, today’s manufacturer is not only competing against other manufacturers of its size. The war for talent crosses all industries and organization sizes. Whether you’re up against an industry behemoth that can afford top pay and benefits or the restaurant across the street that’s matching your company’s pay for easier work, bringing your recruiting and retention efforts to a new level isn’t optional – in fact, it’s imperative.
Here are five ways other manufacturers are winning the war for talent:
- Grow your own talent. As reported in com, when Lucid Motors needed skilled workers for a new plant, it partnered with government, a community college, and the state’s economic development team to build and equip a state-of-the-art training facility focused on car assembly. All 700 of its new employees were trained at the center and ready to work when the new plant opened. Similarly, BMW expanded an apprentice program to four community colleges; opened new training paths for high school seniors; and invested $20 million on a new training center for professional development and technical training. (Keaveny, Chris. “To Address Labor Shortages, Manufacturers Must Become Talent Creators”. 2022. IndustryWeek.com.)
- Don’t look in the usual places. Everyone else is already doing that. As reported by MITSloan, “Amsted Rail, a manufacturer of systems and components for freight and transit railcars, is collaborating with a program called c.stars, which puts young adults with a high school diploma or GED through a 14- to 16-week training program followed up by job placement.” (Stackpole, Beth. “Practical ways to tackle manufacturing’s labor crunch.” 2022. MITSloan.MIT.Edu.) Rather than a general job posting site, check out FactoryFix.com’s recruiting automation solution to gain access to a community of 700,000+ manufacturing workers.
- Consider “second chance” hiring. As reported by the National Association of Manufacturers, JBM Packaging and Saint-Gobain found engaged and productive employees who would stick around by starting programs to recruit and hire individuals with criminal records. The majority of these employees fill entry-level positions, but about 10% have mechanical, machinist, and other technical skills – that doesn’t even get into the potential tax credits through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit or WOTC. (NAM News Room. “How Manufacturers Should Pursue Second Chance Hiring.” January 2023. org.)
- Explore how technology can help you get more work done with fewer people. As reported on com, robotic arms can perform assembly line work; autonomous guided vehicles can transport materials through warehouses and on factory floors; 3D printing has significantly reduced the time required to create design solutions; autonomous machine vision solutions can track, sort, count and do visual quality inspections; and AI-powered systems can connect and manage the manufacturing process from start to finish. (Gow, Glenn. “The Labor Shortage Is Killing American Manufacturing. Here’s How AI Can Bring It Back to Life.” August 2022. Forbes.com.)
- Be willing to change. As reported by the Triad Business Journal, at the least, pay needs to be at the marketplace median. Consider novel benefits that are genuinely meaningful to today’s workforce. Let go of outdated policies and practices. Create a workplace people want to be part of. Once you’ve made all of these updates, consider reaching out to ex-employees and letting them know what you’ve learned, how you’ve changed, and how valued they’ll be if they come back. (Brannock Jr, R. Michael. “Manufacturers. It’s Time to Get Serious About Talent.” October 2022. Bizjournals.com.)
For additional insights and assistance recruiting and retaining talent, contact RBT CPAs’ affiliate, Vision Human Resource Services. For accounting, audit, business advisory, and tax services, reach out to your local RBT CPAs office. We’re the largest accounting firm in the Hudson Valley and we believe we succeed when we help you succeed. Give us a call today.