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Attracting and Keeping the Right Talent

Manufacturers will have to fight for the talent they need. In a recent survey, more than two-thirds of HR executives described their company’s recruitment efforts as either extensive (23 percent) or moderate (46 percent). More companies looking for talent means that competition for the best talent is increasing.

Even amid 2012′s stop-and-start economy, HR executives said their companies spent an average of $10,731 per new hire, taking an average 51 days to fill an open position.

Manufacturers must consider a range of approaches to attract job candidates even as they fight to retain their own talent, especially for advanced skills. Smart executives and

HR leaders get the most out of their talent, both new hires and longtime workers, with a comprehensive strategy:

  • Multipronged recruiting: Leading companies find employees from a variety of sources, including recruiters (external and internal); employee referrals; job boards; and affiliations with colleges, universities, community colleges, technical schools and high schools (e.g., apprenticeship programs).
  • Complete recruitment packages: Creating the right recruitment package calls for comprehensive research into packages offered by regional and industry competitors for comparable roles. Companies also should consider fringe and intangible benefits (e.g., flexible work arrangements, job sharing) to lure new talent.
  • Hire-then-train option: Executives often fail to find candidates with all required skills, and resort to hiring candidates that meet most, but not all, criteria. This approach works if the company can train for technical skills (and assuming all other candidate attributes, including attitude and work ethic, meet or exceed requirements). Some world class organizations, such as Toyota, actually prefer to mold the workers they want, rather than hire candidates steeped in another company’s culture or processes.
  • Onboarding: Companies often contribute to their own skill gaps by losing new employees shortly after they are hired. Why? Because many firms focus on getting bodies in the door, then fail to adequately onboard employees with training and mentoring; thus inspiring “buyer’s remorse” among new hires. HR staffers should provide a detailed orientation for new hires, addressing performance and organizational expectations. Leading organizations also don’t wait for an exit interview to get employee feedback; instead they regularly assess employee satisfaction by conducting “stay” interviews.
  • Coaching: With technical knowledge dwindling at many companies as baby boomers retire; it is imperative that organizations develop coaching programs to link new hires with manufacturing veterans. These initiatives capture knowledge before it walks out the door, even as they helpnew hires acclimate and learn.

This article originally appeared in BDO USA, LLP’s “Manufacturing Output” newsletter (Spring 2013).
Copyright © 2013 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. GBQ is a member of the BDO Seidman Alliance, a nationwide association of independently owned accounting and consulting firms.

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  • Jim Bechtel
  • Director, Assurance & Business Advisory Services
  • (614) 947-5208