Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Manufacturing Workers in Wichita, KS

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Manufacturing Workers in Wichita, KS

While the idea that American manufacturing is in decline has made for a lot of easy headlines, actually, US manufacturers are struggling to address a massive labor gap. A recent report from Deloitte found nearly 500,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector.

Clearly, manufacturers around the country are finding it difficult to recruit and retain manufacturing workers, including manufacturers in central Kansas. Wichita manufacturing recruiters not only need to attract the best talent possible but keep good workers in place.

Why Should Manufacturers in Wichita Focus on Employee Recruiting and Retention?

Two factors are making the current manufacturing labor gap even worse.

On the one hand, the average age of a manufacturing worker is increasing. As these folks get older, manufacturing recruiters in Wichita should be focusing on ensuring there are enough new workers coming in to replace them.

On the other hand, manufacturing is becoming more technical, and this is leading to a growing skills gap. Even though the sector continues to evolve and incorporate the latest digital technologies, manufacturing’s outdated image as a dirty industry driven by manual labor is making it difficult to recruit technically-skilled workers.

Given these large-scale forces at work, it is critical for company managers to implement effective recruiting and retention strategies.

Manufacturing Recruiters Breakdown Six Strategies in Recruiting Top Talent

Kansas manufacturing leaders might be wondering what they can do to support recruiting and retention efforts, and as one of the top manufacturing staffing agencies in Wichita, we’re happy to share some proven tactics.

Optimize Job Postings

Basic-sounding job listings are like generic resumes: uninspiring and counterproductive. A smartly-written job description makes it easier to hire the right people as it attracts more best-fit candidates.

Beyond being free of spelling and grammatical errors, a good posting also plainly explains the job duties, length of employment, prerequisites for applying, and compensation. But a truly inspiring post includes a sense of the typical day and your workplace culture.

When laying out a job posting, try to use a combination of paragraphs and bullet points to make it easy on the eye. Write like you are speaking directly to a potential applicant. It’s also a good idea to be succinct.

Emphasize the Company Culture

In a recent survey from Glassdoor, 77 percent of respondents said they consider company culture before applying to a job. If your company has built a vibrant culture, make sure you are showcasing it on social media and in your job postings. Try to paint a positive but honest picture for potential employees.

Leverage Employee Referrals

Employee referrals are regularly proven to be the best recruitment channel for well-qualified candidates. Incentives are usually monetary, but other incentives like additional vacation time or discount programs can also be effective. Speaking with your current employees can help you determine which incentives to offer. While you should have conditions on receiving an incentive, like ensuring a new hire lasts for at least six months, try to avoid limiting your employees from making referrals.

Manufacturers Should Showcase Career Development Opportunities

If your company offers training programs and professional development opportunities, make sure you advertise them to potential applicants and candidates. Given the current skills gap in manufacturing, there should be plenty of support for employee development from inside your organization.

Streamline the Selection Process for Manufacturing Candidates

Hiring personnel have a lot to handle when it comes to hiring new employees. There are interviews, resumes, forms to fill out and background checks to conduct. On top of that, if the hiring process takes too long, prospective employees may start looking elsewhere for work.

Start streamlining your hiring process by plainly defining the key steps and their associated timelines. Then, look for areas where steps can be eliminated or expedited. While it’s fine to use software platforms that are capable of automating parts of the hiring process, you should make sure your process maintains a healthy amount of human touch.

Utilize Temporary Staffing Services On-Demand

Manufacturing staffing agencies in Wichita are a highly effective way to address any labor gaps in your organization. While these companies are commonly called “temporary staffing agencies,” they are able to help companies fill permanent and full-time roles.

Because they specialize in hiring, staffing companies are built to promptly present a range of best-fit candidates to a client company for their open role(s). This can take a lot of the weight off your hiring managers so they only need to focus on top-tier candidates.

Temporary staffing agencies also have a network of manufacturing professionals, and when your company works with manufacturing recruiters in Wichita, your hiring team simply needs to provide the necessary qualifications for your open positions. Recruiters can then tap their network to identify potential candidates. From there, your hiring team can assess candidates based on needs, potential fit with the existing team, and overall company culture.

Hiring agencies are probably best used to find people with specialized manufacturing skills, such as trade workers. Because of their broad networks, an agency is better positioned than a manufacturing company to find workers with niche abilities or experience.

Manufacturers Should Implement the Following Strategies to Retain their Existing Workforce

Improving recruiting is only one-half of addressing the labor gap in manufacturing. The other half is maintaining high retention rates and minimizing costly turnover.

When it comes to reducing turnover, websites like Glassdoor that provide a place for employer reviews offer significant insight. On these sites, current and previous staff members can express their views on everything from opportunities for career growth to employee appreciation, or lack thereof. To be clear, these websites tend to skew negative because people are more motivated to leave bad reviews than good ones. So while you shouldn’t define retention efforts based on your review, they can provide an unvarnished look at your company and indicate areas for improvement.

With that being said, the following three areas tend to be the most common areas where a company can improve its retention efforts.

Professional Development Opportunities

It’s hard for a company to offer promotion opportunities to all of its employees, especially if a company isn’t rapidly growing. But today’s employees don’t expect every stint with a particular job to end in a promotion. They do, however, want opportunities to grow as a professional.

Skills training programs, workshops, and industry conferences are all ways for employees to gain skills and knowledge. While offering these opportunities isn’t free, they can cut back on costly high turnover.

Manufacturers Should Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

When developing compensation and benefits packages for different positions, employers will often look at the industry average and offer that or possibly a little more. While this can be an effective approach, a better way to develop these packages, according to Harvard Business Review, is to make sure they align with your company’s strategic goals. For example, if your manufacturing company needs to upskill a large section of its workforce, compensation should include incentives for your employees to gain the desired skills.

When compensation is aligned with company goals, it not only incentivizes employees in strategic ways, but it can also give your employees more meaning in the work they do. Your staff members are more likely to help the company achieve its goals if they can see the direct impact of their hard work and the compensation they receive.

Provide Recognition and Rewards

Many jobs in manufacturing require physical activity, and a recent survey from Paychex found that active workers are less likely to feel valued in their work than desk-based workers. For manufacturing employers, the message should be loud and clear: You need to be focused on making your staff members feel valued.

This starts with offering employees a voice. Actively solicit feedback from them, and more importantly, take action to address feedback whenever possible. Also, ask for employee input when making decisions that affect their job. While they may not like every decision your company makes, they will feel involved in the process and, therefore, more likely to buy into the decisions that are made.

An employee reward program isn’t as necessary as providing recognition, but it’s a great tool for building company culture. Make sure individual employees are recognized for their contributions and occasionally hold events that recognize the day-to-day contributions of entire teams.

Provide Work-Life Balance Support

The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed pent-up demand for remote work, and while the physical nature of many manufacturing jobs makes remote work difficult, there are still opportunities to support the work-life balance of your employees.

If some positions include data entry or computer work, consider allowing frontline workers the opportunity to do this remotely. Shift-swapping among employees is another great way to support work-life balance. Also, make sure your paid time off policy is calibrated to help people take care of themselves and those around them.

Partner with a Manufacturing Staffing Agency in Wichita to Find and Retain Top Talent

As a full-time employment and temporary staffing agency, we at Top Notch Personnel are dedicated to finding the perfect fit between job seeker and employer. Our targeted manufacturing staffing services are designed to increase productivity, efficiency, and innovation. Please contact us today to find out how we can assist your organization.