recruit, hire, and retain employeesWant to read something scary? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 19.8 million Americans quit their jobs between April and August 2021. CNBC reported that in January of 2022 about 4.3 million people quit their jobs. There’s still a strong U.S. labor market with a high demand for workers.

The trend will continue, at least for the foreseeable future. Protocol indicates, “Roughly 23% of those surveyed last month said they want to quit this year.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, really there’s a supply and demand problem. Fewer people are in the job market as the population ages; Baby Boomers, the largest generation, are retiring and looking to be out of the workforce in 2030. The generations after Baby Boomers, even with the Millenials — the second largest generation — won’t make up for the workforce shortfall.

It’s not just people quitting; hiring and recruiting is hard

If you’re hiring or recruiting, you know it’s been rough.

Robert Half, a staffing firm, indicates, “39% of hiring managers in the United States said that ghosting by job candidates is more common now than it was two years ago.” For those who haven’t experienced ghosting, it’s when a candidate doesn’t bother to show up. Sometimes that can happen in the interview process, but it’s not uncommon for it to occur after an employee is hired.

Worse, manufacturing and industrial industries were already suffering.

Manufacturing and industrial industries already had problems

According to Industry Week, there are some hurdles that manufacturing as an industry – in particular – faces. Not only is manufacturing losing their highly trained workforce, but there are barriers for people to join companies.

  • Manufacturing employees are quitting at a higher rate than many other industries.
  • Wages for the manufacturing sector lag behind most other industries.
  • Benefits and perks are better in other sectors, too.

So what is a manager in manufacturing or related industry to do?

Retain good workers

Weird to start here when we’ve been talking about hiring and recruiting? Not at all. Think about your best employees and the chance that a quarter of them are thinking of walking out the door. Time to start retaining those workers.

  • Can you increase pay for current employees? If you look around, wages are increasing at a break-neck pace. Is your company keeping up?
  • Are you promoting safe working conditions? Are you following OSHA standards? Do you have safety personnel at your location to help address issues? Are you dealing with COVID to employees’ satisfaction?
  • Are you giving opportunities to employees? Are there training programs or money to get additional skills? Are managers working with employees to help them make career moves?
  • Are the workloads reasonable? Burnout is real, and it goes beyond the high-tech, healthcare, and education industries. Think about how long your workers are working and what they’re doing.
  • Are you being flexible? Is working from home occasionally an option? Can you afford to give them flex schedules?
  • Are employees aligned with your strategic goals and understand how they contribute to them? Share financial information, but do more than that — align employees to how they’re contributing to the company’s success.
  • Do employees feel appreciated? Money is a good start, but it’s not everything. Are you recognizing employees for their good work? How? Having public and private ways of acknowledging effort and results is essential.
  • Are they connected to your company? Do they talk with their managers regularly? Do they have friends at work?

If you’re unsure about the answers to any of the questions above – ask! You can conduct employee engagement surveys and interviews with employees to understand how they feel.

Answering these questions will help ensure you’re keeping your best employees and encourage them to tell their friends about your company. Your employees are your brand.


Be creative when recruiting and hiring

woodworking manufacturingSure you can use LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and all other options. But there may be even better ways to get good, qualified people. It starts with understanding people these days have choices and that your current employees are really the place to start.

  • Start an employee referral program. Give employees rewards for recommending good people.
  • Rethink your benefits and perks. If you have the potion – add vacation, try flexible schedules, see if you can get better benefits, plan work-from-home options, and more. If you don’t know where to start, ask employees.
  • Get help for your HR department – recruiters. Recruiters can handle many resumes at one time, screen candidates, provide feedback about going pay and benefits, as well as a bevy of other things.
  • Review discarded candidates; they may be worth giving another chance.
  • Get your network involved. Talk with friends and relatives about the types of people you’re looking for. Discuss options with your professional organizations. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to get great candidates.
  • When candidates don’t ghost you, treat them well. Get water, take them on a tour, offer them a chance to settle in, etc. Think about your first-day experience – wouldn’t that be great to experience during the interview process?
  • Show your passion for the company and work. Employees who are genuinely laughing, smiling, working hard, and enjoying themselves — that’s hard to fake.
  • Consider “boomerang employees” – those who left under good conditions. Sometimes employees want more than their employers can give — more money, more opportunities, more flexible schedules, etc. If those old employees were a good cultural fit, bring them back.
  • Don’t get hung up on “resume gaps.” Some people leave the workforce when they have a child. Family members leave the workforce to care for sick parents. Sometimes a worker starts a company … and then decide they never wanted to be a business owner. Getting hung up on those gaps is frustrating for interviewees and doesn’t take into account they’re more than just workers … they’re human beings.
  • Think innovatively when hiring. Only getting qualified candidates who want to work part-time, but need full-time assistance? Consider hiring two people and splitting the workload and day. Not getting qualified enough candidates, but really like an inexperienced one? Consider training that person to get them the assistance they need. Getting turned down due to pay often? Raise it and determine what else in your budget can go.
  • Make the first day great. And then the next day. And the next. Think about your perfect job — how they would make you feel. What they would say … and then make it happen for someone else. The first day and week reflect on how the employee feels about the company. Ask the employees’ peers to take them to lunch, and pay for it. Building a team takes intention, time, and a great start.
  • Ensure employees understand total compensation. These days, total compensation is a buzzword. Its intent is to show all the things the company does to help employees — benefits, training opportunities, pay, etc. More than just show what you do, help employees navigate these systems.
  • Consider services from a third party instead of an employee. If hiring is proving impossible, get a third-party involved. They can provide services working as an employee might.

Recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees may be a challenge these days, but it’s not impossible. If (as Protocol noted from above) about 23% of people are still considering quitting, that means 78% aren’t thinking about leaving their employer. Companies still have a lot to offer, but it takes time and creativity to make it happen … as well as ensuring their current employees are engaged.

If all of those are happening, people will flock to your company.

CAT can help

Like you, we believe we need to invest more in high school trade programs, giving graduating students an option. Having more people who understand welding, repairing systems, etc. is the best way to keep our economy going.

Although we can’t help you recruit, hire, and retain top talent, we can help your company by maintaining your compressed air systems. It’s why people in the tri-state area turn to us. We’re the leader in compressed air for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.