by Susan Hileman, NWIRC, COVID-19 Recovery Program Manager

Photo for Finding and Keeping EmployeesThe number one issue from manufacturers we visit across the region is finding and retaining employees. While manufacturing is regaining strength, so is the labor shortage. There is no doubt there were workforce challenges before pandemic, but the issue has reached a critical point with an increased number of baby boomers who retired in 2020 and simply the lack of available talent.

According to a Gallup Survey, more than half of employees are not engaged at work however we know that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their workplace. So how do we keep our people engaged to retain them? Company executives recognize the warning signs as demonstrated by the Global Supply Chain Institute’s study at the University of Tennessee—noting 91% of CEO’s identified the need to change their HR strategy for attracting and retaining talent and yet nearly 60% had not yet taken the first step. If you are one of those employers, you are not alone.

Key points to consider for finding and keeping employees:

Understand generational impact. The manufacturing industry has changed a lot over the years and so has the newest generations. They don’t come to the workplace with the same attitudes and behaviors as previous generations as each generation seeks to correct the imbalances of previous generations. We went from ‘live to work’ to ‘work-life balance’, and now we have ‘work-life integration’. The needs of employees have changed, and what was important to previous generations has changed as well.
Improve retention of current workforce. Companies are investing in more than just tools to keep employees safe. They are investing in tools to help employees work better, faster, and smarter than before increasing productivity and reducing turnover with upskilling, retraining, and career pathway development.
Prepare for the aging workforce. Evaluate your current workforce and develop a plan for skill-transfer. Finding ways to capture the tribal knowledge of mature and seasoned employees will position a company for the future.
Tap into regional sources for finding employees. Understanding the available resources offered by the local economic and workforce development ecosystem can sometimes be confusing. But they are well connected with one another. So, whether reaching out to NWIRC, or another organization, there is help for navigating the resources to meet your needs.

Best Practices for Finding and Keeping Employees Webinar

Susan Hileman will present the live webinar, Finding and Keeping Employees, on July 20th from 10:00am-12:00pm. Loaded with information, best practices, opportunities, and resources to help companies be proactive in developing their workforce. She will share details for understanding generational impact, improving retention, capturing knowledge of an  aging workforce and strategies for finding employees. More information at: