Recruiting & Retention Strategies for Manufacturers

2021-07-23T18:18:45+00:00

Highlights from the July 21, 2021 webinar featuring Ron Bower, Brickpath Group, and Taylor Evan, Rust Belt Recruiting, and hosted by Amy Reynallt, MBA, of HBK Manufacturing Solutions.

Recruiting Strategies
Almost unanimously manufacturers report that labor is their biggest challenge in today’s environment.

Having a great recruiting process is your number one retention strategy:

  • Cultivating an employment brand, what people on the street say about your organization as a place to work, delivers the biggest return on the dollars you spend on recruiting.
  • Do what you can to improve the candidate experience, from the time of their first interaction with you to when they’re working. When you provide a stellar candidate experience, even those who don’t get the job will go out of their way to say good things about the organization. Someone in the organization needs to own the job of creating this positive candidate experience.
  • Implement an employee referral program. The most effective way to recruit people is through your own employees. Make sure your employees know how to identify a good candidate, and recognize and reward them for bringing you good employees. Your employees want to work with other good people.


Focus on the quality of your hire not on how fast you fill a job. The easiest thing to measure in recruiting is “time to fill”; when you started the search and when you filled the job. But the two most important factors are how well someone performs in their job and how long they stay.

Hard facts:

  • A strong brand reduces turnover by 50 percent. People walk in expecting a good organization, a good environment, a good culture, and fairness within the organization.
  • When the candidate experience is positive, the employee will be 40 percent less likely to leave in first six months. A good on-boarding process will increase that to 70, even 80 percent.
  • Twenty percent of turnover happens in the first 45 days, a signal that something went wrong in the recruiting process.
  • One-third of employees quit within their first six months.

Key considerations:

  • Be a great place to work.
  • Educate your workforce.
  • Leverage your employees to be advocates for your organization.

Keys to getting talented and effective people into your workplace:

  • Thoroughly communicate benefits beyond wages, like work schedule, healthcare coverage and retirement benefits—those things that differentiate you from other manufacturers. This is particularly necessary in a tight labor market.
  • Be honest with yourself and your candidates. Admit shortcomings, even ask for input on solving them. You don’t want the new employee to show up to unwelcome surprises.
  • Be clear about your core values and why they are what matters most to your business.
  • Understand where you stand in the marketplace and how you size up against local competition.

Culture
High performance cultures, designed to drive performance, consistently generate higher customer and employee satisfaction and better financial results.

  • Your culture is defined by the worst behavior you are willing to tolerate. The higher on your organization chart the person with bad behavior is, the more it will define your organization.
  • For a high performance, you need a culture based on trust and accountability.
  • Set clear expectations about performance and behavior. Consider what employees need to do and how they should do it. Have meaningful conversations with employees to get actionable feedback and to help them understand their future path and do their jobs better. Then, show your appreciation on a regular basis.
  • There must be consequences: positive for exceeding your expectations and negative if they don’t meet expectations.

Understand the state of your culture. You have a culture even if you haven’t stated it.

  • Ask your employees to define your culture.
  • Define what you aspire to in terms of a culture.
  • Hire people who behave how you want that culture to be, then coach them up or out based on your core values and the behaviors you want.
  • Be willing to exit people who don’t live up to expectations.

Three-fourths of candidates consider the company culture before applying, would consider leaving if the culture deteriorates, and won’t apply if company values don’t align with their own. More than half of candidates consider culture more important than salary.

Hire based on core values and potential, as well as what they can do currently. Base hiring on the individual and who they are as much as on what they’ve done.

“Hire for skill; fire for fit.” You have to protect the integrity of your culture.

Identify your top 10 to 20 percent of performing employees and create a retention plan specifically for each, defining what it will take to keep them in your organization.

Partnering with an outside agency
Some considerations:

  • Needs to be a true partnership.
  • Commit to a mutually beneficial interview process.
  • Be clear and timely with candidate feedback. Make your decision before they walk out the door if possible.
  • Establish a way to be more competitive; adapt to the market.
  • Be open-minded and willing to consider different candidates. Perfect people don’t exist.
  • Never negotiate your core values.

Choose one agency partner to ensure your story is being told the same way each time, your unique value proposition. It is essential to protecting your brand.

Provide meaningful feedback on candidates you don’t hire.

Be prepared to train the right people to do the technical aspects of the job if they have the right behavior, the right values.

Please indicate the industry that your company operates in: *

About the Author(s)
Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.

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