I was recently asked to participate in a survey for a manufacturing association on attracting and retaining employees. The emphasis is on how to attract new recruits. I think they and most businesses are watching the wrong door.
You constantly hear about companies difficulties attracting good, qualified applicants. It’s in the media, all of the trade groups are talking about it and is usually a topic of conversation when two businesses get together. They are watching the wrong door. They are spending all of their time and resources at the front door, looking for new help as their trained, experienced help is leaving through the back door. Doesn’t it make more sense to spend your time and resources keeping the good, experienced and proven team members you already have then looking for new, untrained, unproven and inexperienced people?
At Ebsco, we put our efforts into keeping the team members already there. They already know the job and with each day they are there, they become more valuable. It all starts with the company culture and that comes from the top. Our CEO Cheryl Dooley thinks of Ebsco as her family. She hands out paychecks personally most weeks. She knows many of the team members families and shares stories of hers. She really cares and it shows. When someone is not treated right at Ebsco, you will quickly hear “That’s not how we do it at my Ebsco” from Cheryl. Individual respect is very important.
Beyond the culture it takes communication. Keeping the team informed on how the company is doing, good or bad, what are sales and where are we headed. This is done through daily notes, monthly meetings and department meetings. Everyone knows where we are and where we are headed.
Involvement in company decisions. Through teams, employees are able to contribute to the company and help shape decisions. We have safety team, fun team, community involvement team, environmental team, healthy living and quality circle. This gives everyone a say in Ebsco’s future.
The next step is telling the why beyond the what. Many of the jobs in manufacturing are repetitious by nature. That doesn’t mean they are unimportant. We try to teach the science of making springs to everyone and always explain what individual’s jobs do to the spring. People want to know what contribution they are making.
Finally we continue to move responsibility down. Individual operators are currently being trained to take over quality control aspects in their process. This will free up our quality assurance department and allow every individual the chance to give their approval, or rejection to each job they run. Everyone gets a sense of accomplishment from checking the quality of their orders.
We are continually looking for new ways to make working at Ebsco better. We want employees who are engaged and proud of their work. When you achieve this you don’t need elaborate recruiting schemes to replace employees that have left and often times your employees will refer friends to apply.
I hope everyone at Ebsco really feels a part of the company and likes working there as much as I do. I am committed to spending my time and resources to make that be the fact.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work on the training program to teach operators so new skills they will love.