There was a time many decades ago, when employees joined companies with the expectation of a long career. Companies were loyal to employees, and the employees reciprocated. Today, the employment picture is much different. Higher unemployment rates, coupled with the constant pressure to reduce head-count have served to create a job market where neither side of the equation seems to feel a strong loyalty to one another. In fact, the most recent recession has incentivized many unhappy workers to stay put until better opportunities become available. According to the "What's Working" research study by Mercer, a global consulting firm “In the U.S., the percentage of workers who said they wanted to leave and get a new job rose nine percentage points, from 23% in 2005 to about one in three, or 32%, in 2010.” If the employment rates continue to improve, many of these workers will move onto other opportunities.
However, for some companies, employee retention is still a key component of their growth strategy. This is particularly true in manufacturing organizations like ours, where the experience and longevity of the workforce can give a business a distinct advantage over competitors. In fact, over 80% of manufacturing companies rank employee retention as a top priority according to a recent study by Met Life on benefit trends.
In manufacturing, employees are working with machines and equipment that require following strict safety guidelines and protocols. Experienced employees are very familiar with this environment and work accordingly. Lowell Allen, Executive Vice President at The Rodon Group says “Many of our employees have over 20 years of experience. They know what they are looking at and have the experience to avoid quality problems. This, in turn, improves safety on our factory floor. Since we aren't constantly training new employees, and have little turnover, people understand the machinery they work around and make few errors in judgment.”
Many surveys point to several key factors in hiring and retaining quality employees. Certainly pay and benefits are parts of the equation, but they don’t rank as high as you would think. Employees want to feel they are part of a team and are respected for the work they do. In a manufacturing environment, employees want to feel empowered to use critical thinking skills and contribute input to the manufacturing processes. Managers who encourage this input are sure to improve retention and job satisfaction.
“A key to longevity is treating people well while maintaining a clean, safe work environment”, says Allen. “We encourage our employees to provide feedback and create solutions that improve our processes. Our management team works closely with our production staff every day promoting an environment of cooperation and teamwork. We appreciate each individual for the talent and work ethic they bring to our organization.”
This approach appears to be working at The Rodon Group. Several members of the manufacturing team recently celebrated their 25 year anniversary. Lowell Allen says “We like to recognize our employee milestones. The company has a commemorative plaque made and given to the employee along with a check for $2500.”
Recently, the employees recognized the retention efforts of the management team by voting K’NEX Brands and The Rodon Group, one of the "Best Places to Work" in the Philadelphia region. The company received this honor along with 53 other organizations throughout the metropolitan area. According to Allen “This is an award we can all be proud of.”