Shop Talk

Keys To Attract & Retain Top Talent

Attracting top talent has become increasingly more difficult in manufacturing.

It’s no secret that manufacturing has received a negative image, but why? Pursuing a career in manufacturing or the trades can be extremely beneficial and rewarding. Apprenticeships and training programs can provide individuals with important skills at a fraction of the cost of attending college, and since manufacturing and trade workers are in high demand, compensation is competitive and opportunities are abundant. They also turn out to be some of the rewarding and sustainable work opportunities on the market with manufacturing being so essential to our economy.

Because most manufacturing and trade workers are actively employed, companies are forced to poach workers from other companies within the same industries, leaving employers begging the question of how they can differentiate themselves to attract and retain top talent despite the challenge. A simple way for manufacturers to distinguish themselves is to offer competitive monetary and non-monetary benefits. Ensuring appropriate compensation, a reasonable amount of PTO, and affordable healthcare benefits (medical, dental, vision) is essential, but these benefits have become the bare minimum in a candidate’s search for employment and are now an absolute standard. Benefits like maternity leave, life insurance, and 401(k) with company match are also quickly becoming non-negotiable.

Providing accessory and unique benefits to supplement the traditional ones is a way of differentiating yourself in the highly competitive market.

Accessory benefits that have proven to stand out include work flexibility, career progression, and fostering an employee-first culture. Work flexibility can mean many things and is easily accomplished through remote days, hybrid schedules, or flex time for employees to determine at their own discretion. Career progression is often offered through a well-defined career path or opportunities for learning and development. Employee-first cultures are always met through effective communication and consistent consideration and execution of employee recommendations.

It’s important to remember there are endless opportunities employers can offer to make themselves stand out against the rest.

Unique benefits we find candidates to love include fitness or travel stipends, student loan debt reimbursement, employer-paid (onsite) childcare, the list goes on. Thinking of creative ways to put your team first and ensuring those who keep the business afloat need to have their core needs met, whether it be tangible or intangible, is the secret sauce to a culminating culture – they deserve it!

From an employer’s standpoint, it’s not always easy to make such drastic changes to benefit packages depending on various factors within each company. If it’s too much to adopt the non-traditional benefits at first, HR managers and executives alike should think outside of the box to upgrade their existing ones! An easy example is offering unlimited PTO instead of assigning an unattractive 5-10 days each year. When implemented appropriately, it can actually save employers money. Another example would be offering a parental leave policy over the standard maternity leave to allow fathers time at home during what might be one of the most important weeks of their life. This is a great way to be more inclusive and show employees that gender equality is important to the company.

When approaching your next strategy meeting or looking at your company’s growth goals for the next year, put yourself in the shoes of a candidate in today’s job market and ask yourself, ‘what makes this company different from the rest?’. Think creatively to find solutions in growing your business, not only in the ways of product or service but as an employer of choice in your area.

Written by Rust Belt Recruiting’s Recruiter & Community Engagement Leader, Morgan Farrow.
Connect with Morgan on LinkedIn to learn more about career opportunities, vocational programs, industry trends, and more.