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How to retain employees at your manufacturing plant

Employee retention in the manufacturing sector of the economy has a very unimpressive history.In a recent study of labor markets for entry level employees (which include manufacturing plant employees) revealed the following about employee retention:

- It typically takes about a month to fill a vacant position in the manufacturing industry.
- On average each vacancy attracted fewer than three applicants.The wage of the job, the area of the job and the unemployment rates of the respective areas were factors.
- After being interviewed, the decision to make an offer to an applicant was based more on impressions made in the interview or references rather than on employment histories.
- Turnover costs (costs associated with terminating or having to replace employees) account for between 5 and 10 percent of total wage costs.
- Higher wages reduce the likelihood that an employee would leave the plant.On average, higher wages lead to higher levels of employment.
- Those who leave a company in this particular sector of the market are likely to be young, well-qualified and single.
- Job satisfaction levels of employees who choose to leave a manufacturing company are similar to those of people who stay.

So what do all of these study results have to do with your strategy to retain employees at your manufacturing plant?Well, it is reasonable to assume that by knowing the reasons why employees leave you are better prepared to improve retention.The employees who are likely to give you problems with retention are generally young, qualified individuals who feel like they could make more money in another job.These fleeing employees are also generally unhappy with what they do in their job.Also, manufacturing industries should be focusing more on qualifications and wages rather than how well a potential applicant interviews before offering a position to that individual.Doing so will decrease the likelihood of an individual receiving an ill-fitted job and therefore quitting shortly after being hired.Now that you know what you need to accomplish, here are a few pointers for how you can take action to retain employees at your manufacturing plant.

Training and personal attention

The manufacturing plant floor is usually not the best place to find good communicators.Yet research shows that those in entry level jobs are looking to be taught, reviewed and given positive feedback for self-improvement. When this type of training and personal attention is not given, the employee feels unimportant and dispensable and will likely leave your plant in search of somewhere where they feel they can develop a future and progress.Breaking this negative cycle is going to involve spending more time developing the interpersonal skills on your plant floor.Morale is an important part of any business even if it is not always apparent that the results are worth the effort.

Opportunity for advancement

The number one reason people under 35 leave a manufacturing job is that they feel like they don't have a future at that company. Young people want to know that they are doing something valuable and worthwhile.Surprisingly, feelings of success and advancement in a company are more influential on an individual's decision to stay with a company then are financial incentives. Employees need to be recognized.Employee appreciation is often times an area of business where owners do not want to see too many of their precious profits "wasted."Yet, if you stop to think about the cost of turnover, retention costs are well worth the investment.
Of all the things that you can do to improve employee retention the one thing that will get you the farthest is to be committed to your employees and sincerely interested in their well-being and success at the company.

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