From Buying to Building Talent
In my thirty years working with you all in manufacturing and helping you with workforce development and training, I have constantly heard the concern that finding and keeping talent is one of the biggest challenges you face, whether in times of a more plentiful labor pool, or in tight labor markets like today’s.
As the challenge remains constant, one question you might ask yourselves is, “what if we shift our emphasis from “buying” to “building” talent? What would that look like?
First, training comes to mind: Could you get better at that? Could you look at the time and money invested in this arena and find ways to achieve training and upskilling your current employees and new hires “faster, better, and cheaper”? What if you could do that in ½ the time and with better retention results. Would that impact your bottom line? What if the training “stuck” and resulted in better quality, less rework, and more throughput? What if you could measure the difference and bank it?
Second, once you onboard and train employees, what could you do to keep them onboard with you? Could you create an environment that invited your employees to continue to develop their skills? Could you create an environment that rewards them for doing so, more than an annual performance review? Statistics about the cost of losing and replacing an employee position run from 20% to estimate as much as 1.5 times the annual salary.
Third, could your hiring practices become more inviting? In a highly competitive job market, what can you do to make your company stand out as a desirable place to work? How can you attract not just the position requirements, but also the right “soft skills”? What could you do to quickly onboard and engage the new employee, so that they will want to stay?
Fortunately, we have a historical example of how we might address these things in a winning way.
Remember Rosie the Riveter and how we as a nation quickly replaced and trained thousands of workers in the effort to win the Second World War? Training Within Industry was the foundational program that achieved amazing results and allowed us to supply our troops and win the war.
Smart Talent, Impact Washington’s systems approach to hiring, training, upskilling and retaining employees, is based on the principles of Training Within Industry, but has added some modern and more extensive features.