The manufacturing and logistics fields are among the oldest industries, yet recruiting top talent in these fields is nothing short of a challenge. From filling open shifts with qualified staff to hiring for permanent roles, manufacturing and logistics companies struggle to attract and recruit top-tier talent.
To aid companies in attracting, hiring, and retaining the most talented and qualified workers in the field, we reached out to a panel of manufacturing and logistics professionals, hiring managers, and business leaders and asked them to respond to this question:
What’s the single most effective strategy for recruiting top manufacturing and logistics talent?
Meet Our Panel of Manufacturing and Logistics Pros, Hiring Managers, and Business Leaders:
Keep reading to find out what our pros had to say and learn about strategies you can put to use to attract and recruit top manufacturing and logistics talent.
Blinds Direct, a blinds, curtains, and interior furnishings manufacturer that handcrafts all products in our 40,000 sq ft premises.
Never underestimate the power of social media…
Ron has his own HR Consulting practice and was VP of HR for a Fortune 500 company. He also teaches HR and Management at the Graduate level. He has major clients that utilize his hiring process around the world.
The most effective way to recruit top manufacturing and logistics talent is…
To set up a strategic employee referral bonus program. It is the number one source for top employees. I teach hiring managers in the Logistics industry this process and the results are better than with any other process.
Shay Scott is a senior lecturer and director of the Executive MBA in Global Supply Chain Management at the Haslam College of Business (ranked #2 in the nation for supply chain graduate education by Gartner) and managing director of the Global Supply Chain Institute.
Top talent needs to be treated like every other scarce commodity in the supply chain…
You build relationships with reliable, quality sources—in this case internship programs and universities. This also needs to stop being the sole responsibility of the HR department. To get the right talent for the right job the current manufacturing and logistics professionals have to be involved. They know the skill sets that will make a great addition to their team, and often those skills are different from the top-level qualifications that every HR department in the country uses.
Eric Anthony is the Founder of StreamingObserver.com.
Be clear about what exactly the job is…
But don’t use jargon that’s too overly-technical if it’s for a position that can be taught. Emphasize what kind of person you’re looking for rather than what’s included in the job description. Most things can be taught, but you want to make sure you’re hiring someone you can get along with and who is a hard worker.
Kevin is the CMO at ShipMonk.
For ShipMonk it’s purely been finding people who buy into what we’re doing…
The logistics space is antiquated, so when a company like ShipMonk that’s disrupting the space comes along, it really attracts talented people wanted to contribute. Young, old, experienced, newbies, it doesn’t matter, we’ve been able to land amazing talent from the sheer fact that we’re changing the way people look at fulfillment centers and people can relate to that. They don’t want to miss out!
Jan Makela is the best-selling author of the book Cracking The Code To Success. Jan has experience as a manager known for turning around under-performing organizations through building on people’s strengths and building teams around team strengths.
Hiring the best talent is not always easy…
But, ‘hire for talent and train for skill’ outperforms people with experience over time. When interviewing, ask people what their best day at work or school was in the last 3 months. Why? It shows people who enjoyed what they do have a talent for that activity. When you ask yourself, “Where did today go? It just flew by,” you are probably working in an area of your natural talent. Look for natural talent. Where do you find the talent? It is all around you. Trade schools, colleges, network sessions, etc. You will find it when you look for it.
Dr. Adrian McIntyre
Dr. Adrian McIntyre is a cultural anthropologist and expert on human communication who has lived and worked in over 30 countries. He advises and trains entrepreneurs, executives, and corporate teams on effective communication and the art of business storytelling.
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is…
Thinking that culture applies to existing employees only. To recruit and retain top talent, you need to create and nurture a culture of storytelling that will be visible
outside your company.
Traditional cultures had myths, legends, and oral traditions told around the campfire. 21st-century cultures are still based on stories, only now they’re also told with smartphones and social media, not just through in-person conversations.
A storytelling culture is one where people’s unique talents and contributions are known, appreciated, and shared in the form of articles, photos, and videos. It is a culture where employees are encouraged to document and share their experiences with the outside world. This is less about brand storytelling, which is often focused on polished messages and expensive productions, and more about creating an informal, in-house culture of everyday storytelling at work.
What does this have to do with recruiting top talent? Quite a lot, as it turns out! Humans, by nature, are curious creatures. We want to peek behind the curtain and see the human side of the companies we work for (and buy from).
Potential hires are already trying to imagine what it would be like to work for your company. Why not show them in a relaxed, authentic, believable way? Storytelling grabs people’s attention in a noisy, distracting world. It creates rapport and increases credibility. It helps people see what you see.
Using the smartphones and social media accounts everyone already owns, have members of your team start sharing their own stories – the personal history of how and why they came to your company. Tell stories that take people behind the scenes and give a glimpse of the inner workings of your company. Tell stories that feature a particular employee and how they’ve improved a product or service, helped the company reach one of its goals, or bent over backwards for a customer in need.
Tell your company’s origin story – why it was started and some of the obstacles that have been overcome along the way. Take people on an emotional journey. Tell stories that demonstrate your core values in practice.
When the top talent in your industry knows who you are, what you stand for, and why it matters, they’re much more likely to join forces with you and bind their future success to yours. A culture of storytelling that reaches beyond the workplace is the secret ingredient that will make that happen.
Lauren Stafford is the HR Publishing Specialist for HRMS World. HRMS World gathers the latest thinking and research about HRMS.
We know that in the logistics and manufacturing industry, hiring managers can find it difficult to find the right candidate…
Particularly if they are recruiting from a small pool of talent in a competitive job market. To broaden the search, organizations should incentivize their best employees to refer people to their company. It’s important to share job requirements as well as outline specific expectations in terms of problem-solving, basic technical training, and math skills. Monetary rewards or trips, time off, and impromptu gifts are a good way to show appreciation to those who have the ability to bring A-Players into a team.
If a hiring manager is still struggling to recruit knowledgeable workers, they should consider ways to bridge the skills gap through a wider industry training program. Employers should commit to creating a culture of employee development by asking managers to encourage continuous learning. The key to attracting and retaining candidates with the right skillset is to invest in their career progression. All workers, even those paid hourly, should be made aware of opportunities to further their career. An investment like this in any workforce is an investment in the future of a company.
Chris Killman is the HR Manager at Columbian Logistics Network. She drives employee standards, ensures adherence to employment practices, and works with the Management team to ensure that they have the people, skills, processes, and morale needed to provide quality services and grow. She is committed to the company’s values and understands that each employee is an integral part to its success.Chris earned her undergraduate degree in Materials and Logistics Management, Operations from Michigan State University in 1986. She has worked in HR for over 20 years. Her prior work experience includes General Motors, Delphi, and Universal Forest Products.
Employee referrals are the best hires…
Encouraging current employees to nominate potential candidates with an interest in working for the same company that have the skills and abilities to meet the needs of the open positions tend to generate the best hires. Most employees will not nominate someone that will reflect poorly on them.
The most effective strategy includes advertising accurate and enticing job descriptions where candidates will have easy access to view and apply for an open position with a standard process that allows HR to view applicants and necessary information, contact them, interview, and check references prior to hire.
Brad Stultz is the Human Resources Coordinator for Totally Promotional.
One of the most effective ways to recruit top manufacturing and logistics talent is…
Our local Community/Economic Development agency has created HomeTownOpportunity.com, which allows businesses to post jobs and candidates to post resumes to the site. This county-operated site has been a wonderful asset; we have utilized it to fill over 100 new positions in the last two years. We also utilize social media advertising to reach candidates. This allows us to dial in a demographic area and a target audience. By utilizing these avenues, we are able to take our hiring message directly to candidates who may or may not be presently seeking a new career path.
Bryan Koontz is the CEO and Founder of Guidefitter, a platform for consumers to research hunting and fishing trips and connect with outfitters and professional guides. The online community allows users to share their experiences and serves as a hub for sportspeople and outdoor adventurists.
Hiring and interviewing can be a time intensive exercise for any business…
But one that can reap rewards if done properly. This first begins with excellent job descriptions that attract high-quality candidates to your organization. While an interview offers both parties the opportunity to make a first impression, more often than not companies miss out on great individuals because they haven’t captured a candidate’s attention via a well-written job description.
First and foremost, all job descriptions should be open and honest. Prior to an interview, all prepared job candidates will research your company, looking through your website for any insight that can help. Any job description that is not transparent about the culture or responsibilities will be easily spotted and overlooked. Avoid overstating the company culture in attempt to target younger candidates – transparency is valued and honest descriptions will produce the individual that is right for your company. Also, emphasize personal development opportunities – a recent
study revealed 95% of job-seekers would be willing to pay for training out of pocket. Genuinely invest in learning opportunities for your team and include these in your descriptions for maximum success.
Jan Bednar is the CEO of ShipMonk.
I consider it bad-form to poach talent from competitors…
Since doing so tends to come around to bite you in the long run. Instead, I look for people who have demonstrated talent in operations, particularly in a related industry. For instance, operations managers at small eCommerce companies can often make fabulous logistics manager candidates. They are familiar with the concept of supply chain, they are generally very well organized, and they are often excellent at refining established processes. Offering an operations manager a position in a logistics company, specifically with the understanding that they will develop even greater
insight into the consumer habits of many eCommerce companies, is a great way to attract top logistics talent without resorting to competition-poaching.
Cristian Rennella is the Co-Founder & VP in Human Resources of el Mejor Trato. He got his degree as computer engineer in 2007 and also has a diploma as a PHP web developer. He has 8 years of experience in online entrepreneurship in South America, now with 34 employees and with more than 21,500,000 users working across many countries.
I think that better candidates are in the market for a short time…
So I recommend making a fast hiring decision. Top job-seekers have their own time table, and research shows they are hired in less than an hour.
Actually, this was exactly what happened to me when looking for a developer. There was a vacancy in the programming area, and I spent two days reading CVs. When I found what I needed and I called him, he was already in a new company. Now, after two years, he is one of the best assets there.
I don’t want you to suffer from the same. Speed up; geniuses have their own schedule!
Lauryn Sargent is a partner and co-founder of Stories Incorporated. She worked in HR and Recruiting for 7 years prior to beginning Stories, which is an agency that works with companies to create authentic, story-based recruitment marketing content to help them attract and hire top talent for their organization.
The most effective strategy to recruit top manufacturing and logistics talent is…
To stop and think about your current top performers (can also be phrased as ‘who do I want more of?’). Once you know who those individuals are, talk to them, collect their stories that demonstrate what motivates them to do a great job every day, what about the company’s mission they are passionate about, what they do in a typical day, etc.
These stories will authentically demonstrate to candidates what it means to work in manufacturing and logistics at your organization. The end result: talent that would flourish in your organization now have an understanding of what it takes to be a top performer, and candidates who maybe wouldn’t have been a great fit anyways will now realize they would be better off elsewhere, before clicking apply.
Tammy Clausen is the Business Development/Recruitment Manager at Product Handling Concepts. With over twenty years of market/business development related experience, Tammy is vital in steering PHC through accelerated growth by acquiring top talent and providing effective vision and consult. She has a reputation for successful outcomes, enthusiasm, work ethic, accountability, and persistence.
We have had a great deal of success in attracting top engineering talent by…
Injecting personality into every stage of the hiring process, beginning with our website’s career page. We present information in a relatable way, provide potential employees with insight into the individuals who currently make up our team, and outline a typical day in our organization. In this way, we’re demonstrating our organization’s strong commitment to people which I think is important to candidates.
Ketan Kapoor is the CEO of Mettl. He was also recognised in the 40 under 40 business leaders 2017, by The Economic Times.
The major challenge in manufacturing industry is…
To recognize the top performers based on industry benchmarks. Also, these companies struggle at being able to assess the behavioral competencies that matter at senior
This calls for the ability to assess psychometric, cognitive, and domain-specific skills required for the job. Organizations like Mettl provide assessments across job roles and industry benchmarks to enable hiring based on parameters which will influence on-the-job performance.
Scott Frederick is the Vice President of Marketing for Logistics Plus Inc., a leading worldwide provider of transportation, logistics, and supply chain solutions.
I don’t think there is a single most effective strategy for recruiting top logistics talent in our industry…
If I were forced to name one thing, I think it would be referrals. If you have a great company culture, and if you treat your employees well, they will become company/brand advocates and they will refer or recommend talented people within their own personal or professional networks to your company. Beyond that, we are seeing success in our recruitment of young millennial talent by advocating the following aspects of our company: flexible work environment, flat management structure, fun culture, downtown location with a hip vibe, access to cutting-edge technology, workplace diversity, etc. If your company is recruiting young talent as we are, those are the types of things, we find, that really appeal to talented kids coming out of college these days.
Grant van der Harst
Grant van der Harst is the Managing Director of Anglo Liners.
One method of finding top talent is…
Through your most-trusted employees’ network of contacts. This may seem like a simple strategy, but it is nonetheless an effective one. Your current employees will have probably worked for similar companies in the past, and will have built up a list of contacts of people they’ve worked with before that they may well be willing to get in touch with for the sake of making their current workforce an even more successful one.
Cassie Bar is a marketing associate at Factor Finders, LLC specializing in content and digital marketing.
Manufacturing companies are moving towards the future…
Their first step? Making the industry appealing to millennials. Manufacturing has come a long way, but not without misconceptions still on its heels. Many people think of manufacturing as an industry in decline. This is no longer true. The problem is, baby boomers are retiring. This is leaving a huge gap in industrial industries that need workers. Manufacturers, among many, will need to work hard to attract the millennial generation. What millennials don’t know is that manufacturing salaries are right in line with other popular industries. The average manufacturer is making close to $80,000 a year. How is this possible? Well, many manufacturers are partnered in the pharmaceutical industry, making lifesaving medicine for many different diseases. If you’re reading this article on your desktop, tablet or mobile device, you can thank the manufacturing industry.
Angela Stringfellow is a writer with 10+ years of experience. She focuses on news, trends, and insights in marketing, business, and technology.