Who needs our helP? 

Our client is a custom metal stamping manufacturer located in Cleveland, OH. Since its founding in 1944, the company has grown into a full-service, short-run stamping and fabrication facility specializing in precision metal stamping, laser cutting, fabrication and final assembly. With 208 in-house machines across two production locations in the greater Cleveland area, they rely heavily on their floor workers to keep their operations running.

"We had 13 people retire last year, and bulk of those retirements were in a plant of 30 production employees. We were replacing about one-third of our workforce."

The Great Resignation & Retirement

The company needs about 30 floor workers in their plant at a time to fill orders and meet customer specifications. Their need for trade workers in order to drive their production resulted in them beginning to feel the effects of staffing problems as they faced the glaring effects of the Great Resignation.

The Controller of the company joined the team in 2019. He quickly saw how the staffing issues were negatively affecting their finances and operations so he had to shift his focus towards talent acquisition to try and get their problems under control. "We had 13 people retire last year, and a bulk of those retirements were in a plant with only about 30 production employees. We were replacing about one-third of our workforce in Cleveland," he said.

The wave of retirements forced him to adopt new job responsibilities and shift his focus to sourcing candidates to fill their manufacturing roles, leaving the financial and operational departments to lag behind.

Not only did the company lose one-third of its plant workforce following the wave of retirements, but it lost one-third of its most experienced workforce. They were left with one experienced setup employee and one experienced tool maker to handle their production in addition to training the new hires, further removing their few remaining skilled workers from the floor.

With a strained workforce, an unclear talent acquisition process and limited time, the company was hit with another issue: a high employee turnover rate when filling these vacant positions.

increase in backfill preperation
increase in upskilled employees
increase in retention rate


The company wanted to take its focus off of talent acquisition to allow employees like their Controller to return to their designated job responsibilities. "How do we get away from doing [hiring] as our full-time job? We had a person and a half working on talent acquisition, which was just taking up too much of our time. So that was one aspect, and the other one was looking for someone to actually partner with," their Controller said.

The first solution their team tried was the temp model with different agencies, but they quickly saw holes in this solution. Many of the temps would fail to show up to their shifts or couldn't stand up to the challenging environment of a manufacturing facility. The quality of candidates was less than they had hoped for, and their turnover rate continued to increase, leaving shifts short-staffed and the remaining employees overworked. A stressed dynamic between longer-tenured employees and the new hires developed as tenured employees saw the new hires as unqualified candidates. It was clear to the company’s leadership that the interests of the temp agencies were misaligned with their own, so they tried a different strategy.

Their new strategy revolved around sourcing candidates through job boards and an internal employee referral program. These tactics yielded a handful of meaningful results, with a few hires still working at the company. They also got involved with local programs aimed at helping to connect talent to manufacturers. They are still active in their pursuit of candidates through local programs like these.

While their efforts yielded some numbers, the results were not the solution they were hoping for. "We had hired 39 people in the year prior to working with Rust Belt and only retained 8 of them.” From August 2020 to July 2021, their retention rate was a mere 20%.

"A lot of manufacturers aren't ready for workforce innovations. I think it's great that Rust Belt is pushing that and changing the way that talent acquisition should be working to keep innovating and providing value."

our partnership 

Before partnering with Rust Belt Recruiting, the company worked with four temp agencies. While they found a few quality candidates using the temp agencies and internal sourcing, they still needed more improvement. This was when the idea of Rust Belt Recruiting was referred to them.

Knowing that their current model was unsustainable, their Controller sat down with our Founder, Taylor Evans, to discuss the Rust Belt Recruiting model. Following their conversation, he walked away with a new partner that was committed to bringing them the results that they desperately needed.  After partnering with us, they handed off their entire recruitment process for us to manage.

The Rust Belt Difference. 

The Rust Belt Outsource model (RBO) takes responsibility for the entire recruitment process, from start to finish. Our recruiters visit the client's site to gain a deep understanding of the company's mission, values, and goals, allowing us to pick suitable candidates to fit the specific needs of our clients.

"None of the staffing agencies who we had worked with in the past had done that. I don't think that any of our staffing reps had done a plant tour or anything like that, so having the people we work with have in-depth knowledge of what we do was very important. We are a niche kind of company. There aren't many short-run stampers left in Ohio and even the country."

At RBR, we screen candidates, ensure that their skill sets match your needs, and discuss wages with potential hires before introducing them to you. Our focus is on making an impact and delivering the most value possible to our partners.

Making an Impact.

Since partnering with us, their Controller finally returned to his duties. He no longer spends his time on talent acquisition, leading to cost savings for the company.

The company reported that their candidates now have a better understanding of the expectations before interviewing, going in with shared goals and values between the company and themselves. They are receiving quality candidates to fit the niche mold of a short-run metal stamping facility. Not only is the company receiving more quality candidates, but they are also retaining them. In the last 12 months, they have held a retention rate of 56% for all employees, jumping to 66%, excluding employees who left before reaching their two-week mark. This is a massive improvement from their previous retention rate of 20% from August 2020 to July 2021, and they are still dedicated to further progress, working towards a 75% retention rate.

Since the unexpected wave of the 13 retirements they faced last year, all 13 job openings have been filled, alleviating the stress placed on their longer-tenured employees. With a fully staffed team, they no longer have to make up the difference and work heavy overtime hours, creating a stable environment and strengthened culture for their workforce.

When asked how their company culture has changed since partnering with RBR, their Controller responded, "Culture was a big part of trying to rebuild our organization after we had all of the retirements. We implemented a new culture program which we call our 27 fundamentals. Between our hiring process and our cultural programming, there's been a lot of change in our culture for the better. There is a premium to working with Rust Belt... But I think it's great that Rust Belt is kind of pushing [innovations], making changes to the norms and changing how talent acquisition should work to keep innovating and providing value."

What sets us apart is that we offer an impactful partnership with our clients. We are committed to providing our clients with the best service possible and we are constantly looking to expand our service offerings to serve our client base better.

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