According to the BLS, the manufacturing industry has an annual separation rate of 39.9% compared to a national average of 47.2% (demonstrating the number of separations compared to the percentage employed over the same period). If you suspect your own rate is higher than this, or you’re simply concerned about your turnover, it’s time to make a change.
One person leaving your company might feel like a shame yet not a huge deal. But on a bigger scale, the problem can be incredibly expensive. Given that the manufacturing industry relies on trained workers to hold up quality standards, maintain equipment, and keep up with demands from the supply chain, it can be tough to keep going when you constantly have to bring on new people. Here’s how you can reduce your turnover.
Invest in training
Nobody wants to be in a job where they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing or have nobody willing to support them. Especially in an industry like manufacturing, which is both highly technical and dangerous. Good training prevents this from happening — and it’s something you should implement from the second someone joins the company.
Ideally, they offer a variety of development and training options. The most obvious is the traditional training that people usually get during the onboarding process, which may involve learning the theory in a classroom or being walked through crucial processes. But you don’t need to stop here. Technology has made it easier than ever to offer virtual learning environments where employees can refresh their memory and take their learning beyond the minimum.
It’s also useful to assign every new recruit a kind of “mentor” figure they know they can go to for questions when on the floor without feeling annoying. This also makes people feel valued —especially if supplemented with regular meetings with that person to discuss their progress.
Ease in physical efforts
In many ways, working in manufacturing is a tougher deal than other sectors. In a world where many jobs are increasingly becoming about sitting at a desk and working on a computer, maybe even from the comfort of your own home, manufacturing continues to be physically demanding.
While working in manufacturing is never going to be comparable to a desk job, ways are opening up to make the job easier than it once was. When was the last time you reviewed your processes and looked for technologies that would ease the burden on your team?
Some ideas include:
Mobile-powered workstations (so you can go back and forth between different areas)
Height-adjustable workstations that allow people to go between sitting and standing
Anti-fatigue floor mats or shoes
More comfort in rest areas
Open the lines of communication
It’s possible to make a good guess about the kinds of things your employees would like, or to try and figure out what might have made them leave. But ultimately, nothing is better than asking people themselves.
Ask your team what their greatest concerns are with their job and what they feel you could do better. Is there a lack of progression? Support? Was the job description different from what they experienced in the role? Don’t let the questions be a one-off — this should be a regular part of your operations.
Consider holding company-wide meetings, having one-on-one talks between employees and their managers, or even giving everyone the opportunity to submit anonymous feedback.
Prepare to enlist help
If you’ve tried the tactics above and you’re still struggling with too many employees leaving, it may be time to bring in a consultant to help you work through the problem.
However, appreciate that this could be difficult for your team to adjust to, and they may feel that bringing in a consultant is a kind of attack on them or something that will make their job more difficult.
It’s best to approach the situation by being transparent about exactly what to expect from the process and reassure them the consultant is here to improve their jobs — not make it more difficult. Also, involve everyone in making the schedule to work with a consultant.
Invest in the future
Few things are more important for an organization than having a team you can trust who are committed to quality and your business. Getting there might take some work, but you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
Part of this preparation is about choosing the right consultant. At Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, we have experts in the manufacturing industry and can work with you to reduce your employee turnover. To find out more or book a consultation, get in touch with us today.