Find, Recruit, and Retain Top Talent in Manufacturing
There’s a common misconception about careers in manufacturing. The layperson may assume that careers in the sector are dirty, monotonous, and poorly compensated. This perspective rarely reflects the reality of the manufacturing industry today. In a highly mechanized industry, careers in manufacturing often require specialized skill sets and are well compensated. Despite this, young people seldom consider a career path in manufacturing when weighing their post secondary education options.This perception problem boils down to an industry-wide brand challenge. How can manufacturing-rich communities create demand? Some regions have tackled this challenge head on with events, campaigns, and programs. A good example of this is the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance (NEWMA). NEWMA dedicates enormous effort towards improving the regional perception of manufacturing. They often partner with other powerful organizations, like the New North, to accomplish their goals. Central Minnesota Manufacturing Association is another example of an organization working to improve regional perceptions. They do this through partnerships with local educational institutions, among other efforts.
A collaborative effort among community entities is an important part of shifting perspectives across a region. But what can you do as an individual company to change mindsets and attract talent?
Start With Identifying Your Ideal Candidate
Before you can tackle broad challenges like industry perception, you must first understand who you are trying to attract. After all, you don’t need to reach everyone. Just the right people. Understanding your ideal candidate will influence how you talk about open positions and where you promote those positions. We often refer to these audience profiles as “personas.” Personas are fictitious, generalized characters that reflect the needs, goals, and behaviors of your ideal candidate. It’s common for a manufacturing company to have several employee personas.
Build Your Candidate Personas
We suggest narrowing your personas to just one or two to start. Ideally, start with the candidates who could fill your highest demand areas. What are their primary characteristics? What words describe them? What personality type works in the role?
Every role will look different. For example, a great candidate for your engineering team is dramatically different than a candidate for a production role. You should start by asking the following five questions. We’ll use engineering as our example:
- Words to describe an ideal engineer candidate in the manufacturing industry:
- Common personality types:
- DiSC: CS, C
- Myers-Briggs: ISTJ, ESTJ, ESFJ,INTJ
- Common titles held by prospective engineers:
- Controls Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Manufacturing Systems Engineer
- Watering Holes (Places your prospects go for information):
- Social media and industry publications
- Job websites like Indeed
Need help outlining your ideal candidate persona? Use this worksheet.
To build a well-rounded candidate persona, be sure to talk to:
- Hiring team: They will know which questions get asked frequently and what prospects care about.
- Current staff: They will be able to share things they are interested in and where they go for information.
- Prospective candidates: Think about people you’d love to hire. Consider asking them questions to better outline your persona.
These points scratch the surface of what can be accomplished to amplify your manufacturing recruitment and retention efforts. If you’re looking for key insights and actionable advice, check out our full feature resource: Master Guide to Recruitment & Retention in the Manufacturing Sector
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