The food manufacturing industry is thriving. However, finding skilled talent to fill open positions in the industry can sometimes be a challenge. As of August 2018, there were 508,000 open jobs in U.S manufacturing. While this job growth is positive, it also indicates that finding candidates with the right skills to fill these jobs could reach crisis proportions. To accommodate this, companies may have to rethink their current strategies to truly engage and hire brand new talent. Here are a few things you can try!
Change the perception of the food manufacturing industry
With the baby boomer generation almost ready to retire, manufacturers need to find new, younger talent that is ready to work. The challenge with attracting and hiring these candidates is due in part to their perception about the industry. Manufacturers believe negative perception from students and their parents are one of the reasons causing the current talent shortage, according to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute’s study in 2018. The study revealed that parents encouraged their children to avoid pursuing a career in manufacturing due to the impression of poor job security and limited career prospects.
So, what can companies do to change this public perception? For starters, companies could partner with local high schools and colleges to educate students about the industry in attempts to shift their mindset. Students may not have the opportunity to become educated about this field, so it is up to the companies themselves to make sure it happens
By educating students on what the work environment looks like and what employees do, you can broaden their knowledge about the industry, potentially shifting it into a more positive light. They’ll gain a better understanding of what the job looks like and what the career prospects are. While this is a long-term recruitment strategy, it is not a bad idea to consider when aiming to improve the image of the industry and grow the workforce.
Strengthen your company culture
Millennials and Generation Z don’t want to be “faceless” employees—they look for collaborative work environments where they can interact with their managers and coworkers. Furthermore, they appreciate receiving ongoing feedback from their superiors in order to learn and improve their current skillset.
With this in consideration, management can take initiative by encouraging more open communication and collaboration across the team. This could be in the form of more productive meetings or using better technology so that employees can communicate companywide. To foster continuous learning and improvement, consider having one-on-one sessions with employees to discuss their strengths and any potential areas of improvement. Managers can also consider offering training and learning opportunities to maintain a skilled and up-to-date team.
Take a chance on hiring inexperienced workers
To meet the demand of finding and hiring employees, manufacturers can benefit from taking a chance on hiring inexperienced workers. It is becoming increasingly common for companies to train these employees on the job. According to this New York Times article, Alexandria Industries hired a young man who didn’t have a college degree or a manufacturing background.
The company provided him with technical and leadership training. That was six years ago—today, he has been promoted and says he plans to stay there until he retires. Hiring candidates without the desired skills can be risky, but that risk can often pay off if you find a person with the right personality fit.
Employee engagement activities
One great way to attract new employees and retain current ones is to organize employee engagement activities. Employees like to know that their work is contributing to the company’s overall vision and success. In addition to telling them that you value their contributions and efforts, it is important to show them as well.
Take the team out for dinner or organize an activity that allows everyone to interact with one another. It enables your employees to view the company as one that cares about their workforce. Even if these outings aren’t frequent, your employees will appreciate the gesture.
Work with LPC to help find manufacturing employees
At LPC Personnel, we’ve helped companies find and hire manufacturing employees for over 30 years. We take the time to understand what you’re looking for in candidates and provide you with the best of the best.
Do you need help finding quality manufacturing candidates? You’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to get started.