The manufacturing industry plays a vital role globally in making all kinds of products. There are more than 12 million manufacturing jobs within the United States. While these numbers are expected to decline over time, the decline is slower than many might believe.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing industry may lose around 550,000 jobs by 2022, with the hardest-hit manufacturing industries including clay, plywood, office furniture, and automobile industries. Yet, despite this projected loss, manufacturing companies are not going anywhere.
Manufacturing jobs are not considered luxurious. These jobs are not as highly sought after as other means of employment. However, they do typically require less experience and education. Workers in manufacturing are some of the most loyal in the country. Employees within manufacturing companies have the highest average tenure among all major industries as of January 2020, with workers averaging about 5.1 years at a single company.
That’s why manufacturing company recruiting staffers must understand the challenges they may face in recruiting and develop the best strategy for hiring new employees who will stay with the company for several years to come.
4 Challenges With Manufacturing Company Recruiting
Manufacturing recruiting faces several hurdles, including industry image issues, difficulty finding skilled workers, lack of training and upskilling, and an aging workforce. Here are four of the most significant challenges facing manufacturing company recruiting.
1. A Problem With Image
In the United States, manufacturing jobs are often considered unappealing, mainly by younger generations and female workers. Forty-five percent of correspondents in a recent survey cited “negative perceptions towards the manufacturing industry” as a cause for avoiding these employment positions.
The majority of manufacturer workers are between the ages of 25 and 64, with those aged 45 to 54 holding the most considerable portion of manufacturing jobs. Younger generations often see manufacturing work as boring, lacking creativity, or environmentally harmful. Female workers may also view manufacturing work as less appealing, as the industry is predominantly male.
A lack of social media presence is common within the manufacturing industry, putting a damper on image and manufacturing recruiting efforts. However, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been shown to offer a unique advantage when recruiting employees.
2. An Aging Workforce
With so many manufacturing workers aging and soon to retire from the workforce, manufacturing companies may face a slowdown in available labor unless they can begin to appeal to younger generations. In preparation for a retiring workforce, manufacturing companies need to ensure that expertise, skills, and knowledge are not lost. Opportunities for training and upskilling should be an obvious next step for your company.
3. Manufacturer Training and Upskilling
Many manufacturing companies recruiting challenges arise because workers who are new to the industry may lack the skills to do the work they are applying for. However, the manufacturing industry can benefit by providing more training and upskilling, allowing them to hire younger employees who may not have any manufacturing industry experience or lack skills in certain areas.
Automation is a significant challenge within the manufacturing industry. There is a huge concern that manufacturing jobs might not be here forever, so many applicants might be avoiding manufacturing jobs altogether. For example, the BBC shared that robots could replace up to 20 million jobs by 2030, and TIME shared that machines and AI could have replaced up to 42% of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Automation is a huge concern for workers right now, and manufacturers must address it.
10 Manufacturing Recruiting Tips
If you are working in manufacturing recruiting, there are several steps that you can take to improve the hiring process, hire more workers, and retain more of the workers that you hire. Here are the top ten manufacturing recruiting tips.
1. Consider The New Employee Experience
Before working in the HR department of a manufacturing company, did you work on the floor? Management? At some point, you were a new employee. What was your experience as a new employee? Are there any aspects that you may have wished were different? For example, did you feel welcome or valued as an employee?
Did you have any trouble with the hiring process or during your first few weeks as an employee? If you did, consider each of those friction areas and determines if you can improve them. Then, reflect on your experiences with some of your colleagues or members of management to learn how the company can begin doing better as a whole. There are always improvements that can be made, and it’s up to you and your colleagues to implement the changes that will improve the hiring process and the new employee experience.
2. Improve Manufacturing Recruiting With The Right HR Tech
As an HR professional, you know that you can’t do everything on your own. There are regulations, forms, training, background checks, and each potential employee you have to consider. Trying to do everything on your own can waste company money, time, and may result in fines. Furthermore, if a hiring process is too lengthy, potential employees may look for work elsewhere while their application is held up.
Fortunately, as technology has advanced, several innovations can make manufacturing company recruiting more effortless than ever. As a result, companies with a robust recruitment process can improve retention for new hires by up to 82% and improve overall productivity by 70%.
3. Consider Social Media For Manufacturing Company Recruiting
Using social media as part of the manufacturing recruiting process can provide a lot of benefits, including:
- Improved job visibility, particularly among younger generations.
- Finding higher-quality employee candidates.
- Improved company brand image and awareness.
- Social media recruiting can be cheaper than traditional job postings.
- Social media postings can create a conversation, as interested parties may comment, leading to further visibility among their friends and family.
- The ability to screen candidates and get a better look at who they are.
- Reduce average hiring times.
When considering social media usage for recruitment, consider platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Utilize more than one social media platform to help you reach out to as many potential employees as possible. Depending on the type of manufacturing worker you are looking for, you might find them on different platforms. Do your research when considering social media as a recruiting tool.
4. Be Consistent And Stay Honest
No form of employment is perfect. Most employees can describe at least one aspect of their job that they dislike. Maybe they feel they’re not paid enough, or they do not receive enough benefits. Perhaps they do not feel valued, or they’re in a position that offers little room for growth. Manufacturing positions, like all forms of employment, have their drawbacks.
Throughout the recruitment process, you must stay consistent with any questions that potential hires may ask – and you must remain honest. Lying to a potential employee about the work environment or the benefits of a position may get them hired in the short term. If they come to work and have a drastically different experience, this can significantly damage your retention rate when these employees become disgruntled and unhappy about the position and the work they are doing.
5. Make The Most Of First Impressions
First impressions have a significant impact on manufacturing company recruiting and retention. How do you present yourself when you first meet a potential candidate? Do you greet them warmly? What is the interview room like? Does it feel inviting? Does the company provide more information to candidates about the position they are applying for or give a tour of the facility? Do you follow up with these candidates, even if you choose not to hire them?
You must address all of these questions to ensure that you are making a great first impression. Not only will a candidate’s first impression influence your employee retention rate, but it can impact your company’s image and what is spread by word of mouth.
6. Treat Your Employees Well To Improve Retention And Hiring
The manufacturing recruiting process is only the first step in acquiring and managing employees. High retention rates and lengthy tenures will boost your company’s overall success. Ensure that you treat your employees well and that they know they’re valued within the company. Most people want to work for an employer that treats them well, so strive to create a positive work environment.
Consider the different benefits you can offer your employees. Desirable benefit packages can help recruitment and retention. Benefits such as paid vacations, bonus policies, 401ks, good health insurance, advancement opportunities, and educational investments can make a position far more appealing.
You might also consider improving benefits over time. For example, you can increase the number of days off for an employee who has been with you for years. These small changes can have a major impact on your employee’s tenure with your organization.
7. Offer Referral Incentives
Word of mouth is a powerful tool that can lead to significantly more employee candidates. Employee referral incentive programs can increase the likelihood of your current employees referring friends and family to the company.
Referral incentives may be monetary, or these programs can rely on providing current employees with another form of benefits, such as gifts or additional vacation time. Set high limits on the number of candidates that an employee can refer to the company, or avoid limits altogether to maximize the success of your company’s referral program.
8. Consider a Hiring Agency
Hiring agencies are a great way to fill short-term and temporary hiring needs quickly. These organizations can potentially secure a considerable number of employees and take the weight off your HR team. Hiring agencies already have a network of candidates and can complete much of the hiring process on your behalf. When working with these agencies, you can dictate the necessary skills you are looking for, or the previous experience you prefer, and receive candidates that meet your hiring criteria.
Hiring agencies can also assist manufacturing companies in recruiting specialized and executive roles due to their unique sourcing and broad networks. As a result, they may provide candidates that possess even the most niche job skills or experience.
While hiring agencies can be a powerful asset, you mustn’t rely on these agencies to do all of your company’s hiring. Hiring agencies do not share the same familiarity with your company’s culture, values, or work environment, and these drawbacks can limit your company’s recruitment.
9. Strengthen Your Areas of Improvement Using Review and Recruiting Websites
Websites like Glassdoor offer current and former employees the opportunity to express their views of your company, including the work environment and conditions, management, opportunities for advancement, benefits, and more. By reviewing these websites, you can take an objective look at your company’s strengths and weaknesses and work toward improving those essential areas.
Many potential candidates review these websites and will use the information they find to determine whether to apply for a position in your manufacturing company or accept a job if offered one.
It can be challenging to look at these anonymous reviews, but they can have a huge impact on your business (positively or negatively.) You must take a look and consider ways to implement the changes your employees are requesting. Good reviews can travel just as fast as bad reviews with a strategy for addressing issues and a stellar referral program.
10. Perfecting Your Job Postings
Generic job postings are like generic resumes: easily overlooked and overall ineffective. On the other hand, a well-crafted job posting gives a great first impression to job seekers, provides details about the role you are hiring for, and entices applicants to apply.
Generic job descriptions or technical or grammatical errors can reflect poorly on your company’s manufacturing recruiting process and may leave you and the company looking incompetent. Therefore, every job posting should include a detailed road map that provides job seekers with:
- A detailed description of the role your company is hiring for.
- The length of the position, if temporary.
- Prerequisites for the position, such as certifications, education, or experience.
- Required technical skillsets.
- Salary and benefit information.
- A personal touch that speaks to job seekers.
When creating a job posting, try to balance paragraph descriptions and bullet points for an easy read. Write in the second person, as if you were speaking directly to the job seeker, and avoid using a passive tone throughout the posting. Strive to keep the job posting under 2,000 characters while conveying why the job seeker would want to work for your company.
Finally, utilize as many recruitment websites as possible and reach out to your local community to maximize the number of potential candidates that see your job posting. This will help you bring in more qualified candidates and can aid in your company’s overall image.
How To Handle The Manufacturing Onboarding Process
Once you have a new hire, the onboarding process can make or break their experience with your organization. Onboarding is an art, and it’s all about getting a new employee ramped up and a part of your company’s culture.
First, you’ll want to get the tactical part of the onboarding process done. This is stuff like having the Form I-9 on file, sending people through E-Verify, and making sure you have updated credentials if you need them. Manufacturing onboarding software can help you handle all the paperwork you need from new hires. Here are just some of the benefits of using software:
- Building loyalty and trust with employees and potential new hires by improving recruitment and training experiences.
- Improving new hire retention.
- Reducing the risk of compliance violations with an intuitive dashboard that monitors the onboarding completion status and credentials.
- Saving time and money by streamlining the recruitment process to ensure that new hire paperwork is completed before their first day.
- Improving overall manufacturing efficiency.
- Increasing the quality of the new hire process.
After you get their paperwork, you have to work through the training aspects. You shouldn’t throw your employees into the deep end and hope they float. Instead, you should create a 90-day onboarding experience that takes employees from new hires to contributing members of your team. Onboarding can be a slow process, but taking it slow can drastically improve retention.
The Bottom Line
Creating great manufacturing recruiting and onboarding strategies is key to hiring more qualified candidates and improving your company’s overall retention. An excellent onboarding strategy doesn’t end with an employee’s hire date – your employees are a valuable asset to your company, and you must maintain a positive and welcoming work environment. No one wants to work for a company that does not treat them well, no matter what benefits or incentives are offered.
Every company has areas that can be improved, and by identifying and strengthening those areas, you can streamline your hiring process and improve employee retention within your company.