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Here’s How Top Companies Find Tough-to-Find Manufacturing Workers

As the manufacturing process has evolved, so have the skills that workers need to get the job done. These manufacturing companies know how to find manufacturing talent—and keep them happy and engaged.

Here’s How Top Companies Find Tough-to-Find Manufacturing Workers

By: Catherine Conlan

As a manufacturer, having the right people in place can make the difference for your products. Yet finding top talent can be challenging, especially since you’re not the only employer trying to recruit manufacturing workers. So how do you stand out and win the race for the best?

“In today’s market, it’s not only about what the candidate can contribute to the company but what can the company contributes to the candidate,” says Brian Kingston, HR director at MC Assembly in Melbourne, Florida.

Here are some expert tips for how to recruit and retain the best manufacturing employees.

Build a Strong Employer Brand
“In a hyper-competitive job market like the one we’re in today, recruiting via online career sites like Monster and building a solid online employment brand is critical. Taking the time to build out our company profiles and job descriptions so that candidates can get a sense of our culture, values and an overview of our business is more important than ever."

"In addition, we work hard to ensure that each and every job description we post not only describes the skills and experience that we need, but also helps candidates understand what’s in it for them. Whether that’s advancement opportunity, fun technology tools to work with or our company culture, we want the candidate to get excited about our role, hopefully setting it apart from all of the competition.”


Steve Nielsen, Co-founder and CMO, aspectLED, Arden Hills, Minnesota 



Experiment with Your Social Media Channels
“To bolster our recruitment efforts, we mobilize our established social media network – they are some of our best advocates. To break through the clutter we try to make our recruitment posts engaging, as opposed to traditional, staid job announcements. For instance, we recently featured a successful post offering 'Fantastic Jobs and Where to Find Them'.”


Tammy Clausen, Business Growth and Development Manager, Product Handling Concepts, Appleton, Wisconsin


Compete on Pay and Benefits
“If we want to attract and retain the best workers, we have to continue investing in our employees with competitive pay and benefits. Gold Medal provides employees with competitive pay and an outstanding comprehensive employee benefits package. We offer medical, dental, vision and life insurance, as well as short- and long-term disability insurance. In addition, our excellent 401(k) plan matches 57 cents on the dollar for the first 12% of the employee’s contribution. Plus profit-sharing is also offered to all employees annually, based on business performance.”


Craig Oaks, Vice President of Human Resources, Gold Medal Products, Cincinnati



Build a Talent Pipeline Early
“We partner with local trade programs and high-school shop classes to get in front of candidates before they even graduate. Identifying candidates that are open to learning manufacturing skills is the key to having a successful employee training program.”


Andrew Gilbert, Director of Operations, Caretta Workspace, Lewis Center, Ohio



Offer Apprenticeships
“Bradley teamed up with non-profit group GPS Education Partners to launch an in-house manufacturing school and apprenticeship program at its headquarters/plant with the idea of ultimately hiring the trained students upon graduation. Twenty-five local high-school juniors and seniors attend academic and skilled trades classes at its headquarters every morning and work as paid apprentices in its plant and some other plants in the area every afternoon. Students also work through school breaks and summer vacation.”


Bryan Mullett, CEO, Bradley Corp., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin



Streamline the Process
“Making the application process as simple as possible is very important. We evaluated our job apply process and continue to do so in order to balance that line between simplicity and compliance and getting enough details to determine if an interview is appropriate. Also, we recently enabled the ability to apply via any device. This way if someone wants to apply directly to one of our jobs with a smartphone, tablet or computer, they can.”


Corey Listar, Director of Staffing Operations, Oldcastle, Rochester, New York



Onboard Employees Thoroughly 
“On the first day we start new hires with a safety and quality training. This allows employees to learn safety tips, who to call, where to go and how to work in a safe way. It also stresses the most important aspect to our business: quality as our No. 1 priority. This happens well before an employee walks onto the production floor."

"On-the-job training follows the safety and quality training. New hires are identified on the production floor with a different colored smock and are assigned a mentor. Once the supervisor and mentor believe the OTJ is complete and the employee is ready to be on their own, our quality manager will assess their skill and what they learned, and confirm the employees is ready to perform the job on their own.”


Brian Kingston, HR director, MC Assembly, Melbourne, Florida 



Provide Ongoing Training
“An effective employee training plan can be the key to keeping employees happy, engaged and efficient. At Totally Promotional we focus heavily on ongoing training that keeps employees on the cutting edge of job and best practices. This employee development includes webinars and outside sources, internally composed training and live training provided by vendors and suppliers. We have found that with an excellent training plan in place you can take a motivated new hire and get them up to speed in a very short amount of time.”


Brad Stultz, Human Resource Coordinator, Totally Promotional, Coldwater, Ohio



It’s Time to Find the Best Manufacturing Talent for your Business
Are you ready to hire great manufacturing workers to help grow your company? That talent may be hard to find in today’s tight labor market. We’re here to help. Sign up for exclusive Monster Hiring advice and we’ll send you the latest information to help you hire the talent you need, from crafting the job description to posting the job in all the right places. We’ll even throw in a special job posting offer to get you moving in the right direction. It’s time to hire the team you need and start manufacturing.