It’s never easy for manufacturers to attract, recruit and retain machinists. The problem isn’t going away any time soon. By 2025, the manufacturing industry will have approximately 3.5 million positions., but only 1.5 million getting filled according to study by the Manufacturing Institute in Partnership with Deloitte.
Numerous industry leaders suggest that quick advancement in manufacturing technology may alienate seasoned workers. Some think that robotics, programming skills and automation is the solution. Other players believe that lack of female presence on machine shop floors could be untapped labour source. Is it?
We spoke with top players in manufacturing and recruitment in a bid to unravel ways to retain CNC machinists for many years. Here is what we gathered.
1. Pay well
Paying competitive salaries with a tight budget and low funds can be difficult. But if you calculate the cost of replacing your machinist, it can help. It can cost between 30% and 50% of an entry level machinist annual salary to replace an experienced one. Most machinists in the manufacturing industry find they can get about 30% salary increase by moving to another company.
2. Make manufacturing jobs secure
Manufacturers struggle with the negative image of closing plants, driving down labour costs and offshore jobs. That perception has to change to attract and retain top machinists. You must show that manufacturing sector offers employment security.
3. Run newer fleet
Assuming you had to choose between operating a brand-new energy efficient machine or something built in the Reagan era, which one would you prefer? Most machinists would prefer working in a more pleasant environment. It’s more attractive to work in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. And when it comes to performance, new tech can make a big difference. If you’re having trouble retaining your machinists, think about their “office” and equipment.
4. Invest in training
Career growth is quite challenging especially for start-ups and young companies. Creating an organizational structure that allows for career-development is key. It is essential to help your machinists grow. Today, technology changes at breakneck speeds and machinists have to keep up.
Find innovative ways to generate resources for professional development. Provision of growth and learning opportunities is an ideal way to retain top machinists in your company.
Training is one of the best strategies to improve retention and increase employee loyalty. It’s also an incredible way to enhance productivity and manage costs, especially energy costs, which is achievable when a skilled machinist is in the cab.
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recommends at least 40 hours of training annually for every employee. While that may sound daunting, keep in mind that training includes low cost activities like on the job mentoring and lunch time coaching.
Some more costly training includes classroom instructions, simulator-based training, offsite seminars and online courses. Regardless of how you do your training, it’s imperative to understand today’s labour market. “Nice-to-have” option is now replaced with “must-do-list.”
5. Make your mission and purpose clear
In modern workplace, millennial employees are the majority. They always need to understand the ‘why’ behind everything that your custom machine shop does. They need to recognize the purpose behind their job detail and believe in the mission. The new generation of CNC machinists desire to know that their work matters.
Ensure that your machine shop has an excellent mission and purpose statement. It should always be genuine
6. Promote creative thinking
Jobs that encourage creative and critical thinking encourage top talents, more so machinists. Creative minds make your precision manufacturing employees to enjoy their work and feel connected.
At least half of today’s workforce is not wholly engaged at work. Some employees ‘show up’ to get a salary. A large number of the workforce is disgruntled with what they do. It is up to the top management and authorities in machine shops to set up creative opportunities.
If you can come up with these opportunities, you’ll not only attract top talent, but also retain machinists. Who wouldn’t enjoy working in a creative setting?
7. Encourage innovation and problem solving
Innovation is wildly popular and a high selling point to the current workforce. Top talents enjoy challenges and innovation. Through creation of an innovation lab or department within your company, machinists can create projects.
Encouraging innovation helps improve your company image, makes machinists appreciated and benefits your clients. Innovation also displays thought leadership in the precision manufacturing industry.
The autonomy to create fundamental and viable solutions to problems is a significant attraction to modern machinists. Similar to creative thinking, it fosters the feeling of connection and enhances collaboration within the company. When machinists feel acknowledged, they are more likely to stay for long.
8. Reward and recognize your machinists
All rewards and recognition must be extrinsic and intrinsic. External motivation such as public recognition and external rewards include praise, bonuses, among others. Inherent motivation enables your staff to feel connected without compromising their autonomy, freedom, and opportunity for personal growth. Monetary bonuses are a plus. Recognition enhances goodwill and loyalty.
Make top machinists feel respected, appreciated, and worthwhile. Custom machine shop clients need to feel that their contributions are significant. Sincere praise and feedback are vital. Top talents are smart enough to recognize platitudes and sincere appreciation.
9. Build a collaborative culture
Teambuilding is an excellent way to enhance performance in a company. Although teambuilding courses and outdoor bonding activities are necessary, ingrained it the culture of your CNC manufacturing custom machine shop. A team-oriented culture can be extensively created and nurtured in your company’s daily operations.
Culture may include the types of meetings you have, where your machinists sit, and how you interact with customers and partners. Bringing in people with a shared sense of belief and purpose in your mission and values may also attract and retain the best machinists.
Research shows that most workers quit their bosses, not companies. They need to know the managers, senior executives, founders, among others. Machine shops need excellent leadership that exhibits integrity.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to retaining machinists. Other options to consider include:
- Start your apprentice program
- Pay retention bonuses
- Invite your retired machinists to come back on part time basis
- Develop ties with family members
- Interview departing machinists and take their feedbacks seriously
Improving machinist retention rates doesn’t have to be an uphill task. By being a positive role model and connecting with your team, you’ll have a better chance to understand what they need to remain. what do you think? Contact Tag Team Manufacturing for more information.