Friday, November 15, 2013

Employee Retention: Why it’s Important to Manufacturers


In the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report, American manufacturers added 19,000 new workers in the month of October, with job growth primarily in motor vehicles and parts, wood products, and furniture and related products. As we all look to see if manufacturing continues its much hailed comeback, economists, business leaders, politicians, pundits and the general public alike, are all closely monitoring trends and data from the manufacturing industry. 
It’s always great to see manufacturers add new employees to their team. However, we also need to focus on and gauge data from another important workforce topic: employee retention.
Employee Retention
Your strongest asset is your staff. Without “A+ workers” who are motivated to help your company grow, you can’t implement initiatives that will assist you in becoming more innovative, productive and competitive. When an A+ worker contributes to your team, you don’t want to let him or her leave…especially for a competitor!
When a valued employee departs, it’s not just bad for morale – it can be costly. Think of all the time and money it takes to recruit and train a new worker. Plus, there’s no guarantee your new hire will be a success. In fact, a 2012 study from Harris Interactive revealed that 41 percent of employers estimated that a single bad hire cost them more than $25,000! Nearly seven in ten businesses, or 69% of those same employers, indicated a bad hire had a negative impact on the company, including clients. That’s why it’s so important to retain top talent.
A recent article by Industry Week called, “In Leadership, Employee Motivation is No. 1,” relays the concerns of manufacturing employers. The article highlights some of the results from the 2013 Industrial and Manufacturing Executive Job Trends Survey conducted by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
The piece states, “In the 2013 Industrial and Manufacturing Executive Job Trends Survey, executives agree leaders need to know how to manage and motivate employees above all else.” Peter Felix, President of the AESC, remarked in the article, "Leadership and inspiring teams are critical for organizations' success, particularly in an era when the 'new normal' means perpetually operating leaner."
With resources stretched thin, it’s not always possible to continuously offer employees financial incentives. However, there are other key ways to motivate employees and retain your workers:
1)    Encourage Employee Vacations: A Harris Interactive survey found that 57% of U.S. workers didn’t use all of their annual vacation days. On average, American workers didn’t use up 70% of their allotted time. If you notice that workers aren’t capitalizing on their time, emphasize that they should take vacation. It will help them relax, reenergize and come back more productive.
2)    Designate Time to Boost Morale and Relaxation: Pizza Friday may be cheesy (no pun intended), but small initiatives to make the workplace more pleasant can go a long way. 
3)   Increase Communication and Feedback: Many times, employees just want to know that their employers value their input. Create forums where employees can voice concerns confidentially. Holding regular employee evaluations is also important. However, instead of just rating the performance metrics of your workers, allow them to provide honest feedback about the company without repercussions. 

As we wind up the end of 2013, now is the perfect time to ensure that your employees are happy with your company. Come 2014, you don’t want to be saying, “goodbye” to your top performers!
Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

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