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Retention Strategies for Manufacturing Employees


Manufacturing jobs often come with high turnover, and this often happens for reasons that integral to the job and can’t be changed. For example, some manufacturing positions are physically demanding, by nature, and employees leave within a short time in order to protect their health. Some manufacturing positions can be boring or unfulfilling, which may not work for certain personalities over the long term. And some don’t pay what they once did in an earlier and more competitive era. But if you’re losing valuable employees faster than you’d like, there are several ways to combat these drivers of high turnover.

Make safety a top priority immediately.

Safety should take the highest position in the minds of company policy makers, HR, supervisors, and operations managers. If your workplace or policies pose a safety threat of any kind, attack this problem first. Re design the workplace to add safety features (like railings and better visibility in high traffic areas) and change practices and policies in order to protect employees from harm. (For example, reduce productivity pressures that encourage employees to run through dangerous, high traffic areas.)

Re-evaluate salaries.

If you think your just-above-minimum wage rates are competitive, think again. And check again. Position market values can change quickly, and if employees can find better compensation elsewhere, don’t expect them to stay based on sentiment or loyalty alone.

Proactively cultivate workplace respect.

If your employees don’t like or get along with their bosses, they won’t stay. The best will find work elsewhere and eventually only the strugglers will remain. So work hard to strengthen this relationship. Encourage a climate of trust, mutual respect, and professionalism.

Take training seriously.

Don’t just provide a cursory two day training period and expect employees to pick up the ropes on their own. Your training should be formal and should be conducted by experienced, qualified trainers who can communicate information clearly and effectively. Employees should always know where to turn when they have questions, even after the training period ends.

Improve the working experience.

Make constant, ongoing improvements to your workplace. Add ergonomic features to work stations. Increase natural light. Increase air flow. Keep looking for new and better ways to keep work areas clean. Keep looking for ways to reduce annoying distractions and obstacles, prevent monotony, encourage camaraderie, and encourage teamwork. Make the workplace as pleasant as possible and make sure employees know that their voices are heard when they’d like to suggest a change.

Promote from within.

Ambitious employees should have room for growth when they’re ready to advance. Before you staff an open position, investigate the possibility of an internal promotion. And if employees are denied promotions more than once, don’t expect to keep them.

For more on how to attract and retain the highest level of manufacturing talent, reach out to the Little Rock expert staffing team at CSS.

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