This week’s Virtual breakfast Morning from the Made in Group saw industry leaders gather to share their experiences regarding a variety of important industry topics, including a designated group which discussed “Recruitment Challenges & Successes”.
There were major two issues which seemed to resonate with those in the room: recruiting staff who hold the right skills for the job, and then retaining those who have the right skills for the long-term.
Growing a Skilled Workforce from Within
The widely-reported skills gap within the UK manufacturing and engineering industry appears to be prevalent here and, ultimately, attracting young people into the UK manufacturing & engineering industry seems to be a commonly shared problem. However, it seems one which companies are united in trying to produce a solution to.
One solution to this proposed within the discussion was providing open days, which shed light on the true nature of working life within UK manufacturing and engineering. These events are said to prove effective in wiping away negative misconceptions of this industry through showcasing the top-class facilities and equipment that young people would be working with on a daily basis.
Upskilling and training employees, therefore, is an effective and proactive way in which companies can take responsibility for closing the skills gap, whilst also bettering the effectiveness of their workforce.
However, a key issue raised within the discussion was the risk of investing time and resources into developing a young professional - such as an apprenticeship - only for them to move to another business, now that the skills learned at their current company make them an attractive proposition to another. This risk then brought the conversation back around full circle to the importance of investing into current employee retention, to lessen the burden of recruitment…
Talent Retention: The Best Form of Recruitment
The reality of losing talented employees to an employer who is either more conveniently situated, or is able to offer greater potential for quick career progression, is a commonly faced problem within the industry. Similarly, it is often reported that the pull of a higher salary, and increasingly more days of annual leave, is enough for many employees to move companies.
However, whilst simply offering more money or more days of holiday can often be an effective and indeed retention tools, it is not always a viable option for a business, and indeed it may simply be papering over the cracks of a deeper issue.
Other effective means of achieving talent retention within a business include offering a pathway of personal development, such as training, which simultaneously allow for an employee to feel valued and also to feel as though they are progressing their own career.
One particularly important - and perhaps underappreciated - factor in retention is being able to facilitate a working environment which produces genuine social connections. For younger people, those coming out of university and school in particular, a working environment which allows them to develop friendships with colleagues can be hugely beneficial to minimising their own want to look elsewhere for a more fulfilling career.
Facilitating this important element of employee retention may even be as simple as putting on regular working social events, such as regular team sports or team dinners outside of working hours, which allow for co-workers to build social bonds which provide far greater levels of retention than a pure working relationship could.
Another interesting strategy raised was empowering current employees to recommend a prospective new employee when advertising a vacancy, as this simultaneously boosts the retention likelihood of the current employee, whilst also solving the challenge of employing a new person.
Ultimately, whether it is staff retention or recruiting skilled staff into a business, Made in the Midlands and Made in Yorkshire as communities are key vehicles facilitating these ideals, as between us as a collective we have much more insight and resources than as individual businesses.