Editorial


 

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Are You an Employer of Choice?

By: Brad Kuvin

Thursday, June 1, 2017
 

The 2016 Deloitte Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (which, by the way, ranks the United States a close second behind China for top billing) points out the high stakes manufacturers face as the fourth industrial revolution takes hold. That is—the convergence underway of physical manufacturing with digital connectivity (predictive analytics, smart factories, etc.). Of note: higher-value manufacturing models are evolving to where cost competitiveness, or any other singular performance metric, means less, and a more balanced approach to the market is what’s most important.

Another noteworthy finding of the Deloitte survey: U.S. manufacturing executives continue to rank “talent” as the number-one driver of competitiveness. Analysts studying survey results conclude that the “best” manufacturers strive to be “employers of choice”—not only able to attract the right and best people, but also able to provide the tools that will help employees grow and prosper, individually and as part of successful teams.

What kind of metalforming company is one that becomes an employer of choice? Our best and the brightest folks prefer, I’m sure, to work at companies that embrace innovation and advanced technologies. And, many U.S. companies already have adopted such a strategy (which, according to Deloitte analysts, is how the United States climbed the global rankings from fourth in 2010 to second in 2016).

Becoming an employer of choice may seem simple in concept, but like most concepts, it’s easier to talk about than it is to achieve. There’s a lot of advice available on how a manufacturer can become an employer of choice; one of the best sources I found is a blog post on the website of Bear Staffing, Ft. Myers, FL. It describes a four-pronged approach to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest:

  • Teach
  • Listen
  • Incentivize
  • Understand

New hires yearn for mentoring and other practices that deliver professional development. And, as employees become more comfortable in their work environment, they’ll get the itch to begin contributing ideas. “Give your employees the chance to shine…to weigh in on common problems, propose new ideas, and feel a personal investment in the success of your company,” suggests the Bear Staffing blog.

(For an example of how a metalformer can achieve greatness by combining shop-floor teaching and training with innovative use of technology, check out this issue’s article on Canadian stamper Larsen & Shaw, pp. 32-35.)

When it comes to incentives, many are scared to use cash incentives to motivate employees. However, today incentives can be non-monetary—the blog suggests such perks as flexible schedules, gym memberships or other “soft” incentives as being sufficient ways to differentiate your company and attract the most talented candidates.

Last but not least, Bear Staffing execs suggest that “while every workplace needs structure to function, too rigid an environment can be stifling.” Take a close look at how your company deals with employees’ family obligations, illnesses and other life events. Job candidates will appreciate a compassionate yet firm set of policies and procedures, provided they’re enforced fairly throughout the company.

 


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