Tips to Attract and Retain Workers in Manufacturing
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published September 10, 2020
A successful business needs talent that aligns with company goals and brand strategy. Attracting top talent is about the give and take. For #USAMfgHour on Twitter, Paul Kiesche from Aviate Creative discusses how marketing can help attract top talent for any manufacturing business.
To attract employees, Kiesche said, businesses need to first address a potential candidate’s interests and concerns. There are a few things top-tier talent looks for in a future employer.
“Besides good pay, I believe prospective employees want to be able to have a work-life balance above all else,” said Crescent Software. “In addition, a stable job is desirable as well. Especially during these tough times, job security is a high priority for those needing to provide.”
“A career path. Many people want to know what opportunities are available to help them can grow professionally and how they can move up within the company,” said Mike Womack of NJMEP.org. “Being transparent about these details can have a massive impact on recruitment and retention.”
“I think they look for somewhere they can see themselves long term, where they feel appreciated as an individual & what they bring to the table as well as somewhere that challenges their current abilities and skills,” said U.S. Tank and Cryogenic Equipment.
“This is a very good question and probably one that few employers think about when recruiting. It is all very well thinking what the employer is looking for but: How many employers have put themselves in the shoes of the prospective employee?” said Nigel Packer of Pelatis.
Other top mentions during the chat were decent pay and benefits, a supportive and safe work environment, and a place where the employee can feel their impact.
“Recognition; feeling valued and trusted to get the job done,” said Heather Uczynski, a business psychologist at Leading Edge consulting in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
A Two-Way Investment
While the answers are part of what prospective employees are looking for, the needs are deeper, according to Kiesche. Potential employees want a professional, successful, and growing company that can keep their interest, continuous learning, and training to stay top-tier, flexibility, and social responsibility in the workplace.
Many people only associate marketing and branding with sales, but it can also play an important role in recruitment. Kiesche asked the group: In what ways can marketing and branding influence prospective employees?
“Show the company in a positive light,” said Dan Bigger of Chenango Valley Tech. “Highlight what the company is doing to make an impact not only to their customers but to their community. Focusing on the importance of their employees in and out of work.”
“Marketing and branding give future employees a glimpse of who you are as a company and what it is like to work with you,” said Ruby Rusine at Social Success Marketing.
“YES! Being a part of the community and being socially responsible as a company has a major impact especially to the young and upcoming generations,” said U.S. Tank.
“As a marketing professional I like to see marketing and branding as a reflection of the company,” said Rebecca Hart of DSI/Dynamatic. “Are they putting thought and effort behind the brand? If so, that means they probably care about marketing.”
“Employees will want to work companies that are given a positive image,” said Crescent Software. “Companies that are praised for their customer service or humanitarian work can resonate well with prospects. The employees want to know what they're doing is contributing to the greater good.”
“I think marketing and branding a business is giving it a voice. And that speaks to more than just customers. Competitors, Vendors, Business Associates, and, yes, prospective employees,” said Nick Rivers of Obsidian Manufacturing. “I think if you have a solid media footprint a potential employee will be more confident in a possible position. We don't want to be like ‘storm chasers’ - we want them to know how we impact others.”
“Prospective employees learn a lot about the company and its culture by what is on social media and marketing,” said marketing expert Jen Wegman.
“The way we treat our employees, is the same way we treat our customers,” said Lermit Diaz of SCTools. “Our marketing starts in-house. Understanding that marketing is our tool, and behavior to please and retain our customers.”
“I think it's important that the company has a solid (social media) personality that is relatable,” said U.S. Tank. “It is important to look professional but also a little silly at times. If a company is relatable through marketing and branding people, in general, will be drawn to it.”
In some ways, all marketing can help recruitment, but there are more effective methods. What marketing strategies can manufacturers use to help attract employees?
“Keep your website current and user friendly, use social media to your advantage, and provide current videos that inform prospective employees about who you are as individuals and as a company (something we're currently working on),” said Hart.
“Social media, manufacturing facility tours open to the public (pre-COVID or virtual), and getting involved with local high school/college career-focused events. These three activities can help businesses reach the right audience and improve brand recognition,” said Womack.
“As a marketer, you need to highlight the daily events of the company,” said Bigger. “What is really going on. Highlight your staff. Show what they do, how they have, and make an impact. Show longevity, how long has the company and employees been around.”
“A local company here sponsors a televised teenage Quiz Bowl alongside a local TV Station. Every time I watch that channel I see and hear about their company,” said Rivers. “They don’t do retail - but the exposure they receive is priceless!”
Other ideas were showcasing the work environment on social media such as LinkedIn, and to use what attract people to help retain valuable employees. According to Kiesche, some effective marketing strategies to help attract employees are:
- Updated quality website & careers page
- Better written job descriptions
- Engaging Social Media
- Team photos & videos
- Displays & handouts
- Referral program
- Hosting events
“Show that your company is a great place to work & communicate all benefits anywhere they are searching & researching,” said Kiesche.
Opposites Don't Attract
A company’s website is a very important place to address the concerns and interests of future employees. What can manufacturers put on their websites to entice prospective employees?
“I once attended a webinar or something where they suggested having a Career hub to talk about culture, etc. to entice for recruitment,” said Wegman. “An about page w/ the company info and leadership bios is, I feel, important. Clear info on what the company does, too.”
“Find ways to allow prospective employees to experience the culture before joining it,” said Dondi Scumaci, a business professional.
“I am interested in this one,” said Bigger. “We just built our new site and I'd like to expand on it, with things like this.”
“We don't have it yet, but we're looking into adding a careers section on our home page that highlights the perks, the benefits, the community involvement, and the work-life balance,” said Hart.
“Show what the company is all about. Show what you have accomplished and plan to accomplish,” said Crescent. “Give a little bit of insight into how the company operates and how they got to where they are today. 95% of interviewees review the website, let them know who you are.”
“Be clear about what your company stands for, testimonials of employees & be open and transparent about benefits and perks,” said U.S. Tank.
“Your site should be updated, professional, modern, and loaded with great images of your team, activities & work,” said Kiesche. “Create a comprehensive careers page showing your culture, benefits, training, job listings & other things an applicant cares about. An applicant may look at everything on your website and will likely make assumptions about your workplace, team, and work. Make sure your brand and site set a good impression and create excitement.”
Work culture can be very important to people looking for their next employment. How can manufacturers show prospective employees their work culture?
Kiesche and the group said that workplaces can mention the company mission, values, and important initiatives. For example, companies can showcase their social responsibility, sustainability, etc. through photos, and activities. Workplaces could also show how they value employees through various activities.
Marketing and branding can have a powerful influence. When done poorly, it can have the opposite effect of what is intended. What are the ways that poor marketing and branding can repel good talent?
“The simplest answer to this is doing nothing,” said Bigger. “Something, anything is better than nothing.”
“Poor marketing/branding (or non-existent) leads a prospective employee to believe that the company's focus is not on its people. I wouldn't want to work for a company that didn't care to put effort into that sort of thing,” said Hart.
“If you aren't marketing your brand, employees won't know about you,” said Crescent. “Employees don't want to work at a job they know nothing about. The same goes for a company with a poor brand image, remember that the employee is looking out for their reputation.”
“Unfortunately, if done poorly, marketing & branding can have a reverse impact,” said Kiesche. “Employees don't want to work somewhere that looks outdated, dirty, amateurish & unprofessional. They want to work for a growing successful brand, not one that looks like it's failing.”
Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.