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6 Tips on How to Retain Employees in Manufacturing

Oct 3, 2019

retain manufacturing employees

In a competitive job market, retaining employees can be a big business advantage. Long-tenured employees lead to greater productivity and less time and money spent hiring and training new employees. So, how do you keep your best employees around for the long haul? We asked our VP and Manufacturing Practice Leader, John Madsen, how he managed it as someone with over 40 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. Here are some of his proven tips on how to retain employees. 

Read here how one manufacturer was able to achieve $6K+ savings per hour invested in their study!

Train to Retain

The onboarding process can be a key time to lay the groundwork for employee retention. During onboarding, it is important not to overwhelm the new employee, but also to move quickly enough so they aren’t bored. Having an established onboarding process can help keep things running smoothly. Create a training schedule for things like software and equipment. Whether you have one-on-one training or formal training sessions, keep new employees engaged with a variety of activities. This can be done by incorporating job shadowing with presentations as well as individual research time.

Furthermore, training is not a one-time event when someone is hired. The training process should continue throughout your employees’ careers. Training them on new technology, processes, and management can help them grow and develop their own career path - with you. We’ll get more into that later in the article.

Benefits are Beneficial

Providing competitive salaries and benefits is arguably one of the most important aspects of employee retention. Standard benefits like paid time off, health and life insurance, and retirement funds are an expectation with full-time jobs. But many companies are offering so much more and using unique benefits to stand out from the crowd and attract great talent. Things like incentives that recognize good work, volunteering opportunities, leadership development training, and social events can give a workplace a larger sense of community and make people want to stay longer. 

Create a Culture Where Employees Feel Valued

John encourages creating a culture where employees feel valued. This can go a long way in making employees want to stay and be part of a team. 

Treat employees with uncompromising truth and trust them to do the right thing. “If something goes wrong, remember the employee did not come to work today to screw up,” says Madsen. “Chances are the system has a flaw. Fix the flaw and identify the opportunity for training or retraining.”

Put Others Before Yourself

Be receptive to new ideas regardless of where they came from and give credit where credit is due. Get to know your employees. Do a walking meet and greet every day to see everyone in the building. Genuine concern for your employees can bolster morale and contribute positively to the overall workplace culture. 

Mentor unselfishly and consider your legacy. Madsen suggests asking yourself: Do you want to be known as an old grouch or do you want the next generation to remember you as the person that helped launch a career?

It’s also important to have realistic expectations and be a team player yourself. “Do not ask for anything you (the boss) are not willing to do yourself,” says Madsen. “If you ask your team to work late or work on Saturday, be there yourself.”

Open Communication

Employees at all levels appreciate feeling like they are a part of the team and knowing that what they do contributes to the overall success of the company. Consider sharing monthly P&L data and holding regular communication meetings to share important company updates. Provide opportunities for employees to share feedback and ideas too. The more you treat them as equals, the more they will act and feel like it.

Career Paths

Show employees a career path and meet with them on a regular basis to update the plan and stay on track. Provide internal or external training to help them succeed in achieving their goals. The more development you provide the more likely you are to retain employees, and the longer they will want to work for your company.  

Following this advice can help your company attract and retain talented employees. From competitive benefits to a supportive and friendly culture, always be aware of job market conditions and stay abreast of how you can continue to meet your employees’ needs. 

See below how one manufacturing company was able to leverage the R&D Tax Credit to buy game changing machinery, and grow their business further!

Watch our 4-minute video on how we saved one client enough to buy a huge piece  of game-changing machinery with the R&D Tax Credit