A Discussion on Employee Recruitment and Engagement in the Manufacturing Industry

This week’s #USAMfgHour Twitter Chat, held on January 9, 2020, focused on two subjects near and dear to manufacturer’s hearts:  recruiting and retaining employees and keeping them engaged.

@SERVICECASTER moderated the discussion, which included co-hosts @DCSCInc., @witzshared, @BillGarlandSpkr, @CVT_Plastics, as well as many new participants who had a lot to say about the subject.

With @NJMEP as a special contributor to both the questions and answers, we dug right in, seeking insights on both subjects.

When asked what their biggest challenge is in recruiting new employees, the most popular response was related to finding candidates with the necessary skills and education, as well as finding people willing to do the “hard work” required in some trades and manufacturing positions.

One unique response, however, related to getting them on board with the company culture, which was something that really got the discussion going in an interesting direction.  

Our second question asked, if someone is hired, what’s the most difficult part in retaining those employees?  Some responses we got included:

  • Getting them on board with company culture
  • Keeping them loyal to the company
  • Making them feel like they are part of the team and valued
  • Taking care of them (benefits) when the job is physically demanding

However, on the flip side, participants mentioned concern in dealing with high turnaround levels in entry level positions as well as limited opportunities for growth being a hindrance, especially in smaller businesses.

The third and final question addressing employee recruitment was “Would you ever hire and individual because of their attitude with plans on training that person to cultivate your own talent pipeline?”  Overwhelmingly, chat participants responded with a willingness to train candidates who have a positive attitude, especially since skills can be learned but attitude can’t. A few participants mentioned utilizing a temp-to-hire strategy as being a good way to field candidates before bringing them on permanently.

After this question, we switched to employee engagement.  Before jumping into the discussion on this topic, we posed two mini questions:  “What does employee engagement look like to you? And, why does it matter?” We got a plethora of responses covering the following:

  • Engaged employees are eager to help the team and anticipate ways to assist in projects. This is really powerful and it resonate throughout the team (and it makes the atmosphere a lot more enjoyable!) @UPA4YOU
  • Engagement helps a team work together and grow together. Employers should keep employees informed of what’s next and employees should stay up-to-date on their business and industry.  #USAMfgHour @NJ_BAC
  • Engaged Employees are happy, relaxed and motivated. By being around engaged people the workforce engagement will continue to climb. Success breeds success. @EstesGroup
  • 1) On time, doesn’t make their own work hours (eg leaves when they want) willing to take initiative, doesn’t need to be told what to do at all hours, happy to be at work. 2) More productivity, happier workplace, overall better atmosphere @BearPlumbing
  • 1)They are seeking out additional responsibility and training. 2) It shows ambition, an important quality for promotable leadership @NesbitMarketing
  • 1. Someone who is appreciative of the opportunity that is given to them. Someone who feels they are treated equally. Someone who feels equal to the rest of the staff. 2 Everyone has a different perspective on things, by engaging with them you can learn something new. @SpaceGuard

(Which one do you agree with the most?  Let us know below!)

Next, we got back into the discussion, asking how participants’ businesses are currently engaging employees.  Answers included, open board meetings, group meetings with leadership, 1:1 meetings with leadership, and more.  On the other hand, one participant posed the question: What do you do when, despite your efforts to engage employees, they don’t want to participate?  In response, participants said that an examination is needed as to WHY they aren’t engaging. Is it simply about maintaining work/life boundaries or is there more going on behind the scenes?

Question five asked “Have any employee engagement strategies failed in the past? If so, why do you think it happened?”  Responses were:

  • Suggestion boxes where none of the suggestions were considered
  • Lack of clarity
  • Unclear expectations
  • Lack of training when it comes to new positions w/in companies

Our final question asked participants to share their most successful employee engagement tips with us.  Responses centered around maintaining regular contact with employees and actually seriously considering employee’s suggestions.  @NJMEP said “When employees feel as though they can make a difference, they are much more likely to continue working harder while becoming more efficient and productive!”

The overall feedback from this week’s chat was that participants’ all seem to have similar challenges in these areas but that they are working on them and can use some of the ideas shared in the #USAMfgHour chat to help do that.

Next week, we’ll be discussing warehouse and workplace safety for manufacturers with the incomparable @witzshared leading the discussion.  We hope you can make it!

And keep up with us in between chats on LinkedIn by connecting with us there at the links below.

Our page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/usamfghour-twitter-chat/

Our group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12334688/

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