Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

By: Mike Metzgar, Business Development Manager, TDO

Nationwide, the US manufacturing labor market is facing significant challenges. With approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day until 2028, the situation is only set to worsen over the next five years, creating a significant skills gap, loss of tribal knowledge, and a shortage of experienced workers. This will result in fierce competition among companies for top talent and will make it more challenging for businesses to attract and retain employees. Here in Central New York with Micron moving in and the I-81 project getting underway, the future workforce challenges are arriving sooner. While compensation is important, it is not the only factor that motivates employees. Here are a few strategies to attract and retain employees that do not rely solely on money:

  1. Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development: Offering opportunities for growth and development is
    an effective way to attract and retain employees. This includes training, mentorship, and professional development programs that enable employees to enhance their skills and advance in their careers.
  2. Build a Positive Company Culture: A positive company culture is a critical factor in attracting and retaining employees. Building a culture that fosters teamwork, respect, and communication can make employees feel valued and engaged. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance and recognizing employee contributions can also help build a positive company culture.
  3. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible schedules, can be an effective way to attract and retain employees. This provides employees with greater flexibility and can help them achieve a better work-life balance.
  4. Focus on Work-Life Balance: Work-life balance is a top priority for many employees. Companies that prioritize
    work-life balance by offering generous vacation time, paid time off, and parental leave policies are more likely
    to attract and retain employees.
  5. Create Opportunities for Employee Engagement: Employees who feel connected to their work and company
    are more likely to stay. Creating opportunities for employee engagement, such as team-building activities
    social events, and volunteer opportunities, can help employees feel connected to their company and their

Obviously, the practicality of these strategies is highly contextual to your particular work environment. If remote or flexible work is impossible, there are always more strategies (e.g., prioritize communication and feedback, emphasize employee wellness, recognize and reward employee achievements, offer meaningful work, provide a sense of autonomy, etc.). However, the good folks at the Arbinger Institute would argue that deeper than any of these strategies is your mindset. If you consistently view your employees as individual people with lives, families, obligations, hopes, and dreams, things will generally have a way of working out even when you make mistakes. Conversely if you view your employees more as objects, even if you pay them well, you will find attraction and retention increasingly challenging in a worsening market.

In conclusion, attracting and retaining employees has always been important for the success of any business. However, over the next few years, this very well may be the biggest issue for your company’s success/survival. Companies that already do this well can weather the coming storm. Those that do not should begin working on their culture and practices now to ready themselves. Remember, while compensation is important, there are several other strategies that companies can employ to attract and retain employees. The key in selecting the best strategy for your environment is to consider the people themselves and make your decisions with them at the forefront of your mind. If you are a small or mid-size manufacturer and need some assistance with this (or really any) issue, TDO’s team is fully certified to help. Reach out today to learn more and schedule a free consultation.