Thermoforming Report

February Thermoforming Report:

How to Compete for Today’s Talent

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

February 2023.

Though this is a topic that we’ve all heard many times over the past couple of years, it bears repeating based on my recent interactions with clients, hiring managers, and candidates – at all levels. Listening, adapting, and networking are all key ways to make an impactful change with your existing talent and with those new team members you are courting.

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

How to Compete for Today’s Talent

Low unemployment and new employee expectations continue to fuel a tight labor market that has many hiring managers feeling frustrated over rising wages and talent shortages. Despite signs that the economy may be slowing, manufacturing continues to be strong – and so is the need for talent. According to a recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in the U.S. alone, there are approximately five million more jobs than workers to fill them, or nearly two jobs for every employee. 

The reality of today’s economy is that people with transferable skills can largely work for anyone. Whereas competition used to be confined to a single city, market, or industry, employers are now competing across all industries and geographies. With so much demand, it’s important to approach your recruiting and retention efforts strategically.   

At Siena Group, we work very closely with our clients and candidates to present the realities of the market and develop proactive solutions to help you succeed. Read on for tips to improve your recruiting and retention results, and contact us for specialized insights and solutions tailored to your business.  

Evolve Your Mindset

From the pandemic to the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Quick Quitting, it’s no surprise that employers face new challenges every day!

When talent is scarce, there are a number of levers that you can pull to make your workplace more attractive.

The first step is a willingness to change.   

Adopting a fresh perspective and examining your workplace and hiring experience from the candidate’s perspective can help you to succeed and retain employees long term. 

Curious about putting a positive spin on organization-wide change? Read through the Harvard Business Review article entitled “Getting Employee Buy-In for Organizational Change”, located to the right under Trending Topics.

Be proactive in your hiring and constantly scan the horizon for new trends and factors to consider.

While it may be tempting to revert to old thinking or old rules, you can expand your talent pool significantly by simply innovating your approach. 

Here’s a suggestion: walk in their shoes. Be a candidate and work through your own process to see how streamlined – or painful – it really is! It will definitely affect how you approach hiring and retention!!

Understand & Deliver What Employees Want

Employees today seek competitive compensation, enhanced well-being, the opportunity to do meaningful work, and increased stability – but that is what they have always wanted!

The difference today is that they have options

The items below should serve as fundamentals in your recruiting and retention strategies.  

  • Compensation. There’s no doubt that wages are rising and pay raises for job hoppers are enticing to employees who are seeking rapid advancement. With this in mind, you’ll want to structure your compensation to reflect current market and economic conditions, while avoiding “outlier” wages and benefits that will cause you to cut ties with employees should your business experience a downswing.  If your current employees are below market, acknowledge that fact and be proactive in bringing their compensation and benefits up. If this simply isn’t feasible right now, look to other incentives such as more time off, hybrid working arrangements, or opportunities to build new skills and rewarding work experiences. [Need more ideas? Have a look at the Trending Topics article to the right from Forbes entitled “Five Ways Manufacturers Can Provide Flexibility”.]
  • A Strong Hiring Brand. Candidates want to see that you prioritize their well-being and that they will enjoy working at your company. Be sure to craft a compelling hiring brand to set yourself apart from your competition. More than window dressing, your hiring brand should be an honest reflection of what you stand for as a company, your value proposition, your culture, and your team.  
  • A Great Place to Work. For current employees and new recruits, consider what people want, and why people quit. “Quiet quitting” often stems from feeling undervalued or a desire to mitigate work stress. “Quick quitting,” on the other hand, is a way to earn more money, build new skills and experiences quickly, and build extensive networks through job hopping. How can your organization deliver on these goals? Consider every aspect of your recruiting and employee experience to create an environment that’s truly a great place to work.  
Improve Your Results with Networking

Networking really isn’t anything new. But seeing the data & statistics surrounding it definitely reminds you of its significant impact on helping you find your next job, growing your business, and helping your organization connect with the right customers and suppliers.

Over fifteen years ago, during a coaching and networking session after being “reorg’d out”, it was strongly recommended to “network, then network again, then network some more!” and “70-80% of every job is filled via networking.”  As you see in the graphic below (from the aforementioned article), those numbers hold true today as well, with 73% of survey participants citing being hired due to networking and a recent (2021) Forbes survey determining that 85% of jobs are filled in this same manner. 

What is remarkable is that even though this is a well-known fact, only 25% of professionals actually network, and 41% would like to do more but are too busy. No surprise – we’ve all been there, done that. And, though the article didn’t highlight a number, I would take a guess that companies’ effort to tap into their employee networks as a recruiting strategy is in the single digits! 

One more gem that needs mentioning is the power of ‘acquaintances’ and ‘referral hires’. Widening your networking to acquaintances creates an exponential boost in your visibility, generating more referrals, which results in a shorter hiring process, greater job satisfaction, and a longer employment length!

Wrapping It Up

In this market, we all must adapt and change to land and retain the best talent.  Everything from the compensation package, to relocation strategies & approach, to brand-building, and culture development – it all matters and will make a difference in your hiring successes.  Lastly, remember to network: create a strategy to leverage your current top people – having them help bring other great people into your organization. 

Invest the time in the tried and true, but be willing to take a hard look at your processes and make the necessary adjustments. 

Doing nothing is going backward in a hurry in this war on talent! 

“In this market, we all must adapt and change to land and retain the best talent.”

Keith Brown, Owner/President
  • Manufacturing Trends Perspective
    It is hard to stay current with the trends… especially in manufacturing! There are a lot of plates to keep spinning and investing the time to stay tuned in to things outside of your world is tough. As leaders, however, we absolutely must do this! This article unpacks Deloitte’s recently published Manufacturing Industry Outlook report on five trends that manufacturers should seriously consider if they are to avoid further disruption. via Siena Group.
  • How Leaders are Turning Strategy into Action
    Today’s executives face an unprecedented level of economic and geopolitical volatility. Yet, many remain confident they can achieve their growth goals, according to a recent study conducted by PwC. It will take an agile, collaborative approach to do so – based not on traditional three-year plans, but as financial circumstances evolve over the next 12 to 18 months. via PwC Executive Hub.
  • Five Ways Manufacturers Can Provide Flexibility
    Today’s workers want jobs that fit their lives, not the other way around. But how can manufacturing companies, with their workers traditionally tied to the production line, provide flexibility and still maintain the bottom line? This helpful article details ways that workforce flexibility can take many shapes and sizes, depending on the specifics of each organization. via Forbes.
  • Getting Employee Buy-In for Organizational Change
    Although change is never easy, how leaders approach it makes a significant difference in whether it’s embraced or rejected. This article addresses six components of culture to mitigate how organizational change can be shaped by realities rather than banalities. via Harvard Business Review.
  • 2023 Global Human Capital Trends
    The boundaries that were once assumed to be the natural order of things are falling away as disruption and discontinuity challenge traditional models and assumptions about work. To thrive, leaders must evolve in tandem with their organizations and adopt a new set of fundamentals to mobilize workers and teams built for a dynamic, boundaryless world. via Deloitte.

Regional Technical Director/Operations Plant Manager: This gifted leader brings strengths and experience in both Maintenance Reliability AND Operations Plant Management. It is not often that a Technical Leader makes a shift into Operations Leadership – but that’s what you get with this leader! A major plus: he is willing to travel and is open to relocate – another unique combination!

Plant Manager/SME: This talented Plant Manager is a long-term thermoforming, extrusion, and film professional, bringing experience in food packaging and med device industries. His leadership style is focused on mentoring and growing his team. A major plus: he’s willing to relocate!

Operations Leader/Tooling SME: This strong Operations Leader is also a Tooling Subject Matter Experwith 40 years of experience in both thin-gauge and heavy-gauge thermoforming. He brings extraordinary abilities with a passion to lead and support new product design… and he has the ability to create the tooling for it! This type of subject matter expertise and experience is invaluable! 

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We are here to be your Thermoforming Talent Partner. Given the surge in manufacturing jobs, we would love to come alongside your team and support your talent needs! We work with so many talented people in so many different functions – and all in thermoforming – that we can’t possibly highlight them all! Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

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