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Why Would I Work for Your Company? The Ongoing Recruitment Challenge

Faced with an industry-wide worker shortage, Canadian manufacturers need to understand what attracts labour to their businesses and how it can be retained.

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It’s no secret — there’s a major labour shortage in the Canadian manufacturing industry. Without a steady stream of passionate, engaged labourers, manufacturers will find themselves overwhelmed, understaffed, and surpassed by well-equipped competitors. As leaders, though, we must ask ourselves: Is this shortage truly due to a lack of workers, or are skilled labourers simply not interested in our business? It can be difficult for longtime manufacturing employers to accept that the demands and expectations of the modern workforce have increased. Without appealing to these workers directly, though, we cannot expect a sustainable level of productivity and efficiency. Let’s consider what attracts the modern employee to our businesses, and determine the steps needed to retain them.

The importance of effective branding in the recruitment of new employees cannot be overstated. The manufacturing industry has grown throughout the 21st century — there has never been a greater number of employers, and each is eager to obtain labourers with the skills needed for competitive success. To attract the highest-quality labour, manufacturers must communicate with potential employees as they would with customers: through appealing, accurate promotional material. Job postings should be descriptive, well-written, and transparent, with an honest outline of a business’s competitive advantages and a personalized, non-confrontational tone. Employers’ responsibilities don’t end at recruitment, though! To maintain an active level of productivity and efficiency in the workplace, leaders must keep the promises made during the recruitment process, and manage in an equally personalized way. Remember that employee standards for living and balance have risen dramatically over the past several years, and that no commitment made during an introduction should go unfulfilled.

Leadership capability is being evaluated more than ever before in today’s workplace. As such, it is crucial that manufacturers understand effective management practices to maintain both their labour base and their business’s reputation. The modern leader should be applying the values of worker appreciation, independence, and recognition constantly, and should fully understand when their team does and does not require their guidance. Placing trust in one’s employees is critical to establishing a lean, efficient workflow. As skilled labourers possess first-hand knowledge of what their jobs require, allowing them to make decisions based on that information both expedites their duties and fosters an environment of independence and self-confidence, which strengthens productivity across the corporation. Employers that lead with a strict, uncompromising attitude lose control over their teams, and can cause otherwise knowledgable workers to abandon their posts — typically to be recruited by a competitor. Administrating with a heightened focus on employee individuality creates involved, passionate labourers and provides businesses with an innovative, beneficial image.

Changing time-tested leadership methods is doubtlessly a tough process, but, as the demands of employees shift, so too must managers’ abilities to meet them. With no end to the manufacturing industry’s labour shortage in sight, the willingness to evolve and the understanding of how to do so should be at the forefront of every manufacturer’s mind, lest they become unable to compete.

For more on effective leadership practices, contact Joan Richard, EMC’s Operations Manager for Eastern Canada. See also Leadership Academy’s Leadership on a Submarine, a brief video introduction to the importance of employee independence and psychological ownership. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge and expertise crucial to leaders in the Canadian manufacturing industry.

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