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Manufacturing: Where Building a Talent Pipeline Fits Into Your Growth Strategy

Building a manufacturing talent pipeline

When you ask businesses to share some of their biggest obstacles for growth, many will tell you they are facing lack of demand or having trouble differentiating themselves from the competition. Those in the manufacturing industry are likely seeing a different problem – a shortage of skilled labor to grow with their businesses. If this is true for your company, consider these strategies to begin addressing your talent pipeline.

Make a positive impression on younger generations

Many employees in manufacturing are reaching retirement age and there aren’t enough young people lining up to take their place. This is due in part to their perception of working in the industry. Many still think of manufacturing as the dark, dirty and dangerous “blue collar” work of the past instead of the “new collar” work it has become. Today, many jobs in modern manufacturing require critical thinking, accuracy and use of technology that would challenge individuals in the some of the most prestigious professions. It is the responsibility of manufacturers across the industry to make sure younger generations understand this.

You can start by getting involved in your local school district. Consider sending guest speakers to shop class and offering tours of your facilities. It’s not a bad idea to start talking with students as early as middle school age about the opportunities available in the manufacturing industry. These efforts combat the pressure that students are receiving to get a traditional college education and provide awareness to the potential that exists for skilled labor and a technical degree path as an alternative. It also helps if you make an effort to win the parents over on the idea the construction industry as they have a significant influence over their children’s career path.

Offer apprenticeships

The student loan crisis is creating a big scare among those starting to plan their career path. This is a great opportunity for manufacturers to step in and offer an alternative to route in the form of apprenticeships. Not only will it benefit the individuals involved, but it allows manufacturers to educate potential employees in the exact skills their company needs to create a workforce that sustains growth.

Encourage recruitment among your employees

The full responsibility of recruitment shouldn’t fall on just your human resources team as there are likely recruiters in every area of your organization. Not only does this save on potential costs of other recruiting tactics, but employees often refer some of the best hires because they don’t want to associate themselves with a candidate that will reflect poorly on them.

So how do you create the desire among your employees to start sharing how much they enjoy working for your company? Begin by being transparent with them about how important new talent is for your organization’s growth. They’re more likely to become ambassadors once they realize how their individual actions can help the company overall. It obviously doesn’t hurt if you also include some sort of bonus or incentive for successful referrals.

Moving forward

There are a number of strategies like the ones above that can help positively impact your industry’s perception and ultimately grow your organization’s skilled workforce. However, you must stay creative and look for recruitment opportunities that are unique to your company. After all, no one else has a deeper understanding of your organization’s perks and culture.

For more information on assessing talent management strategies to support your company’s growth, contact Carrie Cox, senior organizational development consultant, using the information below.

Carrie Cox, PHR, SHRM-CP

Senior Organizational Development Consultant,
Organizational Development & Family Business Services
Carrie has experience in a variety of human resource functions, including labor laws, compensation structures, employee classification, benefits administration, performance management, and human resource best practices. She has served clients in a number of industries including manufacturing, construction, banking, and not-for-profits. Carrie is a member of the national and local chapters of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and serves on the Wichita chapter board of directors.

She is a certified practitioner for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory. Her additional certifications include Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute and SHRM-CP designated by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Carrie Cox photo
Carrie Cox, PHR, SHRM-CP
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