According to a recent survey by Monster.com, nearly half of the employees who responded say they are unhappy in their current jobs and 81% plan to look for a new job this year. That’s a frightening statistic for employers who are likely unaware that they have disgruntled employees.
Losing good employees may mean lost production time, disruption of customer deliveries and the loss of experience and knowledge about your machining processes. Then there’s the cost of hiring and training a new employee. Just like customers, it’s much less expensive in the long term to retain a good employee than to find a replacement.
So could your manufacturing company be in danger of losing employees? One way to assess the situation is to take an objective look at your organization and consider these 4 key reasons employees begin looking for a new job. If you find one or more of these issues exist, you should take steps to improve the situation.
Doing More For Less. After the economy went south in 2009, many companies had to lay people off. Those who were left often had to take on extra duties to keep the shop running, sometimes along with taking pay cuts. Given the economic times, these employees were grateful to have a job and willing to make some sacrifices. Unfortunately as business has improved over the past few years, some companies have not staffed up or improved salaries. This means that these employees are doing even more work for less income. This may look like improved productivity to the employer, but not the employee. Now that there are more jobs available, these workers may well be among the 96% surveyed who are looking for a new job because they feel they are underpaid. Concerned employers should take a hard look at their compensation plan to make sure they are in line with similar shops.
Lack Of Fulfillment. Although we tend to look at manufacturing as a “thinking and doing” profession, rather than a “feeling” one, our employees are human beings who need to experience a sense of fulfillment in their work. If an employee doesn’t have the sense that he or she is doing something of value, or that they aren’t fully utilizing their skills, they are less likely to be engaged with their work and more likely to consider finding something better. What can you do? Get to know your employees and their skill sets better. You may find that they have additional talents you can utilize that will make them feel better about their workday. It’s also important to make sure each employee understands the value he or she brings to the company through their efforts. And consider providing opportunities for employee education so those who wish to can advance their capabilities.
Lack Of Appreciation. Yes, we all get paid to do our jobs, but knowing that what they do is valued is important to 97% of the survey respondents. How often do you let your employees know how much you appreciate them in front of their peers? If you think that giving an employee an annual “Atta boy” during their review is sufficient, think again. You don’t conduct annual reviews? Then how do your employees know how they’re doing?
Security Concerns. If employees are concerned that they may be out the door when the next business downturn occurs they may start looking around for a more stable situation. It’s important to let them know that you never want to lose a valuable employee and that you’ll do everything it takes to avoid layoffs. Hopefully you can point to your company’s record of keeping employees on board even when times get tough. You can also make it a point to keep employees informed about how the business is going and what they can do to keep the shop profitable.
In addition to fair compensation, the common denominator in all of this is respect for the employees, getting to know them well, understanding and reacting to their needs, and constantly communicating in a positive way. Yes, it’s an investment, but probably the best one an employer can make.