Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Engineering Talent

Aug 23, 2019


Gilman Partners hosted manufacturing, supply chain and engineering leaders for a roundtable discussion on attracting and retaining talent in today’s market. Here are just some of the key takeaways from the conversation:

  • With voluntary employee turnover at its highest rate since 2001, employers are putting considerable resources toward retaining top talent. Providing team members with a clear career path was one of the most-discussed retention strategies. Whether it’s a formal management development program or less-formal conversations about future potential, most organizations seem to be helping their workers envision a future within the organization.
    • Permitting employees to switch up their roles (sometimes as often as every 18-24 months) keeps them engaged and growing without having to leave the organization. Even small and mid-sized organizations are putting role-changing policies in place to help lock in the talent they most want to keep. And it isn’t just Millennials or early-career employees who like to change up their work. The practice of job hopping is likely more prevalent today because of rising salaries and the ease of finding new opportunities, but those in all generations embrace change and growth.
    • Sometimes it’s just taking away some stress and life’s nuisances that helps employees feel more appreciative of their organization. One participant shared that his company invited all employees to submit their official school supply shopping lists for children and grandchildren. Company volunteers purchased all the items from the lists – saving workers money, but also valuable time and a lot of headaches.
  • Recruiting young people into trade careers is getting easier than it was several years ago due to factors including rising salaries, the growing cost of four-year schools, more awareness around career opportunities, and abundant job openings. Trade schools and two-year community colleges are also being proactive about involving parents in the recruiting process. As one attendee noted, “if you can get mom on board you’re all set.”
    • Organizations that want to attract recent graduates need to be involved in the process from day one. That might mean joining the school’s advisory board, taking part in mock interviews with students, inviting high school students to tour their facilities, or even helping to develop curriculum.
  • Manufacturers have to sell both their industry and their organization to prospective employees and WHO they use to deliver that message is often critical. Many are sending early-career employees along with more seasoned professionals to career fairs and into interviews to tell their story and demonstrate how the organization’s promises and values are truly carried out.