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An Employee Retention Convention for the Manufacturing Professional



Wildly Successful Employee Retention

A Guide for the Manufacturing Professional

It is a jungle out there… America’s manufacturing employers and employees are both engaged in unprecedented labor trends. Ironically, these trends are going in opposite directions! While positive economic growth is fueling tremendous demand for both highly skilled and entry-level workers, those going into skilled manufacturing careers, is shrinking. Savvy leaders will proactively approach this challenge and win the pursuit for the highly-sought, ever elusive… top talent!

The first step in recruiting right-fit, skilled, talent? Retention! Retain the ones you already have.

Here are Ten Steps to Becoming a 'P.R.O.' at Employee Retention: 


Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 1
"Leaders Must Be Role Models"

  • Model what you expect.
  • Tell the truth. Period.
  • Follow up and follow through.
  • Work for your employees, not the reverse.
  • Be deeply aware of the needs, concerns, and opinions of your employees that are directly connecting and serving your customers.

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 2
Present a 100% accurate and realistic description of the job functions, work environment, future advancement, benefits and salary. 

  • Allow ‘job previews.’ 
  • Utilize well-established, successful staffing organizations, such as Express Personnel to prescreen and pre-select applicants.
  • Invite ‘influential decision makers’ (spouses, parents, significant others), into the interview process. 

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 3
Match the person to the Job!

  • Use situational-based interviewing.
  • Have 3-4 steps in the interview process. Include peer interviews as one step of those steps.
  • Be unrelenting in checking references.
  • Delay hiring for the right person. 

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 4
Onboarding Programs: A Lion’s Step in All the Right Directions

  • A structured, well-designed new-hire onboarding process is vital to increasing retention 
  • Reduces startup costs
  • Builds mutual commitment between organization and new employee
  • Clarifies expectations
  • Demonstrates a commitment to professional development
  • Is the foundation of a new employee’s sense of value

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 5
Provide frequent constructive, objective feedback.  

  • The once a year appraisal is dead! Collectively coaching collaborative goals with frequent feedback. 
  • Direct me, don’t dictate!
  • Solid employees desire, and demand, feedback.
  • “Re-ward me, re-train me, or re-tire me!” (This is particularly vital for new hires) 

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 6
Offer professional growth and advancement opportunities. 

  • Don’t allude to the “potential of advancement” if your organization is too small or not willing to provide or create it. 
  • Create alternatives to traditional career ladders
  • Commit to a preference for promoting from within before seeking outside talent
  • Develop a mentoring program
  • Don’t hold someone back because your department can’t afford to ‘lose them.’
  • Provide employee training, particularly in the areas that are employee strengths, not weaknesses.

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 7
Value Individual Performance and Contribution 

  • Tie pay and increases to measurable attainment of goals and tangible value to the organization.
  • Allow employees to compete against goals mutually established by them and their immediate manager.
  • Generation X and Y generally prefer to be valued for their individual efforts; prefer to measured often as they set short-term goals and want to have input into their own customized rewards
  • Walk a Mile in My Shoes and cross training programs
  • Strategic planning that includes all employees.
  • Leadership spends 80% of time with top performers.

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 8
It’s Life First, Work…(a distant)……………………Second!

  • Virtuous Cycle- Employers of choice place a priority upon serving the needs of their employees before asking for outstanding external customer service. (Leigh Branham)
  • Employee satisfaction increases employee productivity, which increases customer satisfaction, which equates directly to profitability.
  • Brand your organization as a great place to work first, then as a great place with whom to do business.
  • Adopt flextime, work-from-home opportunities
  • Be prepared to turn away new business to avoid turnover caused by burnout.
  • Insist upon truly ‘disconnected’ vacations for everyone. No calls from work. No email. 

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 9
Recognize, Recognize and Recognize Some More! 

  • Recognition can drive performance and profitability
  • Not (always) about money
  • Deliver it immediately
  • Be specific
  • Be sincere
  • Do it very often.
  • Reward “Employees of the Moment” (Bob Nelson) rather than employees of the month.
  • Recognize performance before tenure.

Proactive, Retention Opportunity # 10
Constantly Be Re-Recruiting Your Current Staff

  • Expect that your top performers are receiving calls from recruiters and competitors.
  • Routinely re-educate employees on all that your company offers.
  • Ask for their reviews of you and their input into decisions. 
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