Discussion Forum Topic:

Where are the Workers?
Original Comment:
This was the topic of one of our panel sessions at our recent annual conference. And while our panelists didn’t completely solve the problem, many great ideas were shared. Here’s recap:

Seek employees from traditionally underserved populations including women and minorities. Women make up 47% of the total workforce, but only 30% of the manufacturing sector and just 10% of the construction industry workforce. Likewise, Hispanic and African American workers combined make up about 30% of the construction industry, but collectively make up 51% of the total workforce.

Another source of potential workers are veterans exiting active service. Each year, about 200,000 veterans transition into the public sector and sometimes struggle to find meaningful employment. There are many state and federal agencies and resources available to help connect you with a qualified pool of veterans, including Department of Labor Regional Veterans' Employment Coordinators.

Hiring ex-offenders or felons is a third potential source of workers. While some employers may be reluctant to go this route, there are state and federal programs available to assist. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers who invest in American job seekers who have consistently faced barriers to employment. Employers may meet their business needs and claim a tax credit if they hire an individual who is in a WOTC targeted group. Those groups include qualified veterans, qualified ex-felons, and low- income populations.

Manufacturers and builders should (if they haven’t already) establish relationships with nearby vocational schools, community colleges, and career centers. Consider offering factory tours for these groups.

But most of the best practices shared were aimed at current employee retention. Keeping current workers content is the best way to reduce or avoid labor shortages. Of course, offering a competitive pay and benefits package is the obvious starting point. But others suggested a sign-on bonus and incentives for current employees who recruit new employees.

Other tips include:

-Showing your appreciation for workers. Its not always about the pay. Keep employees engaged and involved; compliment them for a job well done; and make them feel part of the team.

-Celebrate the victories. Throw company parties when reaching certain milestones; recognize employee anniversaries; have lunch catered in once a month for the whole team.

-Consider offering volume, seniority, or even attendance bonuses.

These were just a few best practices shared at our conference. Feel free to share yours here.
Started on November 1, 2021 by Tom Hardiman
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